Mainland Europe's northernmost Christmas tree is in Norway / Columns / The Foreigner

Mainland Europe's northernmost Christmas tree is in Norway. Honningsvåg in Finnmark County hardly has any trees growing there, but the tallest tree’s Christmas lights are still lit on the first Sunday of Advent anyway. The event marks the beginning of the dark season for locals on Nordkapp municipality’s Magerøya. Switching on the lights has been a custom for more than 60 years, according to Kjell-Atle Sagen, who plays the baritone saxophone in Honningsvåg Musikkforening – the local brass band. It does not take place in the same location every year. In 2011, it was at the world’s northernmost roundabout, also located in Honningsvåg. This year sees the tree standing tall outside the second northernmost cinema in the world (Svalbard beats Honningsvåg Electric RudolphTove Anderssonin this regard).

christmastree, christmas, northernorway, finnmark, celebration, music, lights, yuletide, jul, paywall



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Mainland Europe's northernmost Christmas tree is in Norway

Published on Monday, 28th November, 2016 at 11:48 under the columns category, by Tove Andersson.

Honningsvåg in Finnmark County hardly has any trees growing there, but the tallest tree’s Christmas lights are still lit on the first Sunday of Advent anyway.

The Christmas Tree in Honningsvåg
The Christmas Tree in Honningsvåg
Photo: Tove Andersson


The event marks the beginning of the dark season for locals on Nordkapp municipality’s Magerøya. Switching on the lights has been a custom for more than 60 years, according to Kjell-Atle Sagen, who plays the baritone saxophone in Honningsvåg Musikkforening – the local brass band.

It does not take place in the same location every year. In 2011, it was at the world’s northernmost roundabout, also located in Honningsvåg. This year sees the tree standing tall outside the second northernmost cinema in the world (Svalbard beats Honningsvåg Electric Rudolph
Electric Rudolph
Tove Andersson
in this regard).

Overlooking it all is Honningsvåg Church dating from 1885. It is the only building that the Germans left standing as they retreated during WWII, burning everything down.

Rune Reisænen, the municipality’s new Technical Manager, tells The Foreigner that the Yuletide arbor, which has to be ordered from Meløy in Nordland County, has become an annual tradition.

Norwegians have different preferences when it comes to Christmas trees, though. Some choose spruce as it looks fuller, others pick pine, and some choose plastic.

So is it a spruce or a pine tree?

“I actually don’t know. It is a spruce, I think, but my predecessor ordered it,” he says of the 12-metre-high tree (some 39 feet).

Two locals shed light on the subject. Nordkapp municipality’s Lars Helge Jensen and Kjell-Atle Sagen agree that it is a spruce. Pine is not considered a Christmas tree by everyone, and the nearest ones (Pinus sylvestris) grow further south in Stabbursdalen, located in Finnmark County’s Porsanger municipality.

Northern Norway sky
Northern Norway sky
Tove Andersson
As the brass band starts, the lights are switched on. Families and friends hold hands, walking around the Christmas tree. Children in Santa hats (nisseluer) make snowballs. They do not mind the snow blowing in their faces. It arrived just in time – some 15 cm (about six inches) fell during the night.

The band plays seven to eight carols before fingers and toes are getting too cold to stay any longer. The sun has set for the winter. It will be two months until the local inhabitants welcome it back, though the Northern Lights dance in the sky from time to time.

“You must sing, loudly if Santa is to hear,” remarks the conductor, smiling.




Published on Monday, 28th November, 2016 at 11:48 under the columns category, by Tove Andersson.

This post has the following tags: christmastree, christmas, northernorway, finnmark, celebration, music, lights, yuletide, jul, paywall.





  
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