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Christmas Season Begins

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Christmas Season Begins

Christmas tree lit.

At Austurvöllur square yesterday. Photo: City of Reykjavík.

Yesterday, on the first Sunday of Advent, the lights of the so-called Oslo Christmas tree were lit at Austurvöllur square in downtown Reykjavík, RÚV reports.

For decades, the lighting of the Christmas tree, which traditionally has been a gift from Oslo, Norway, has marked the beginning of the Christmas season. Last year’s tree, however, came with a note saying it would be the last one to arrive from Norway.

This year’s tree originates from the Norwegian Grove in the Heiðmörk nature reserve, so called because Norwegians planted trees there a long time ago. The tree, a 12-m (39 ft) Sitka spruce, was lit by a seven-year-old boy of Norwegian an Iceland parents.

That was not the only Christmas-related event over the weekend. The Christmas Village (Jólaþorpið) in Hafnarfjörður, just south of Reykjavík, opened Friday with the lighting of the Christmas tree. On Sunday, the notorious mother of the Yule-Lads was among guests. This year, the Village offers 17 sales stands, including crafts and arts, in addition to food. It will remain open every weekend until Christmas between noon and 5 pm.

The popular Elliðavatn lake Christmas Market, hosted by Reykjavík Forestry, opened on Saturday. The market, a 15-minute drive from Reykjavík, will remain open every weekend until Christmas, from 11 am till 4:30 pm. This is the place to purchase freshly felled Christmas trees from the Heiðmörk nature reserve. The market includes crafts and design, as well as food. Entertainment for children is provided at certain hours.

You can see pictures from Austurvöllur square here.

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