December 6, 2010.
Sunrise at the Vatican and the first light hits a unique image in St. Peter's Square, a scene that occurs only once a year: the arrival of the Christmas tree. A truck rolled into the plaza carrying this 94 year old spruce that will stand next to the Nativity.
The spruce came from the town of Luson, located in northern Italy. It's over 110 feet tall and will be decorated with 3,000 golden and silver ornaments. Alongside them will shine 1500 white and yellow bulbs, with a star adorning the top. However, this entire process of decorating the tree will take a few days. Vatican Tourist“I think it's going to be really beautiful, it looks huge, and it's going to be very decorative”.Vatican Tourist“I think once it is decorated, once everything is done and all the lights are up, I think people from all over the world are going to be looking at this and wishing they were here to to see how beautiful it looks.”Vatican Tourist“I think it's very modest, as well it should be.”
Placing the tree at its base is not as easy as it sounds. It takes almost a full day's work. The workers also had to cut several inches off the trunk to ensure it wouldn't fall.
The Christmas tree is not just a decorative element, for Christians especially, it has a strong meaning.Armand Piuig tarrech
Dean, Faculty of Theology in Barcelona“This tree shows that even in the heart of winter, when everything is dry and the trees have no leaves, it is still green and so a tree which symbolizes life. And this life has a name - Jesus Christ.”
The Christmas tree is a symbol of life and hope, that is decorated with ornaments and lights around the world. The decoration shows the importance of the birth of Jesus.Armand Piuig tarrech
Dean, Faculty of Theology in Barcelona“Jesus became poor - born in Bethlehem, a place of poverty. But it was a humble place with meaning. It is a poverty which leads to great wealth - spiritual abundance, gifts, vitality and peace”.
The first time a Christmas tree was placed in the Vatican was in 1982, at the request of John Paul II. He wanted both the Nativity and the tree, so that the two main signs of Christmas were very visible in the square of Saint Peter's.