Colombo, December 24 (NIA): Due to a shortage of time, Sri Lanka’s ambitious project to erect a 325 ft tall Christmas tree had to be modified to erect a 220 ft tree .But still it is the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree to date.
Currently, the record for the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree is held by a Chinese firm that put up a 55-metre-high (180 t) tree-like tower of lights and synthetic foliage, ornaments and lamps in the city of Guangzhou last year.
“We had to wrap it up by going up to 220 feet as we were racing against time. There was no point unveiling the Christmas Tree after Christmas. We are satisfied that we were able to break the world record,” Galle Face Green Project Coordinator Mangala Gunasekara told NIA.
Just hours before the official unveiling of the Tree at the Galle Face Green in Colombo, Gunasekara said that workers involved in the project were highly disappointed for not being able to go up to 325 feet. However the 220 feet which had been constructed still paved the way for Sri Lanka to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, he said.
“On Friday night, almost all the workers were in tears. There were almost 1000 workers involved in constructing the Christmas Tree and they all were working on a voluntary basis. No one was paid for this. They did it to spread the message of peace and harmony. They did it for the country,” Gunasekara added.
A majority of the workers involved were employees of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority who constructed the tree after completing their working hours.
Sri Lanka’s Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga initiated the plans to build the tallest Christmas tree but ran into opposition from the Catholic Church who said the project was a ‘waste of money’ and the funds could instead be used to help the poor.
As a result, organizers were forced to suspend the project for 10 days which was the cause for the tree not being able to go up to 325 feet. The project resumed only after the Prime Minister’s intervention who assured the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith that the project was being constructed solely by private donations and no state money was being spent.
Minister Ranatunga is to officially unveil the record breaking Christmas Tree on Saturday evening. 600,000 lights have been used to decorate the Tree which has been constructed using more than a million natural pine cones, iron, old wood material, chicken wire mesh and vinyl flowers.
A 20-foot Santa and 40-foot sleigh made out of Styrofoam is also to be mounted halfway up the tree, topped by a 6-metre-high shining star.
The tree which is estimated to cost 80,600 US dollars will be up until January 6. It has already attracted thousands of people.