An Icelandic tradition over 60 years old draws to a close this year, as the Oslo Tree was lit on Austurvöllur for the last time.
RÚV reports that the City of Reykjavík has decided that this year will be the last time the city imports a tree from Norway to be erected and lit in front of parliament as the city’s official Christmas tree. From now on, the traditional tree will be cut down in Heiðmörk, the capital area’s own wooded wilderness.
Icelanders, who have enjoyed Christmas trees from Oslo since 1951, received a scare last year when Norwegian authorities said it would be too expensive to send a tree this year. The outcry was such that the Oslo Business Council re-assessed the situation, and decided to send a tree after all.
While last year’s tree was ultimately torn down by high winds, Christmas was saved when a new tree was cut down near Rauðavatn Lake, here in Iceland.
The deputy mayor of Oslo, Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, was also present at today’s lighting ceremony. In addition to Christmas tree-related activities, she and Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson also visited a memorial at the Nordic House dedicated to the victims of the 2011 attacks by Anders Breivik on Utøya Island in Norway. Khamshajiny was herself on this island at the time of the attacks, but managed to swim to safety.
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