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New York kicks off the Christmas season with the lighting of the Rockefeller tree

New York / New York City inaugurated the Christmas season this Wednesday with the traditional lighting of lights of the gigantic Rockefeller Center tree, although this year, due to the coronavirus, it was a ceremony that only a handful of people could see live, and the rest of fans of this event could only follow it through the television screen.

The protagonist of the night, a Canadian fir tree almost 23 meters high and 11 tons of weight that traveled to the Big Apple a little over two weeks ago from the town of Oneonta, more than 270 kilometers from the city of skyscrapers, It was illuminated with more than 50,000 multi-color LED lights.

A huge star that was designed in 2018 by the architect Daniel Libeskind, and which is made up of about 3 million Swarovski crystals, also came to the fore, at the top of the treetop, so its weight amounts to about 400 kilos.

To celebrate the lighting of the tree, several music stars joined in an event lasting about two hours, before the formal lighting, which took place at 22:00 local time (03:00 GMT).

Among the participants, singer Dolly Parton, who performed the song “Mary Did You Know”, which is part of her new Christmas album, the band The Goo Goo Dolls, who sang the Christmas carol “Let it Snow”, Tory Kelly with “Slay Ride”, the a cappella singing group Pentatonix, with “Amazing Grace”, Gwen Stefani with “You Make it Feel Like Christmas”, and at the end a performance by the famous Rockettes from Radio City Music Hall.

Despite the lack of public, there are several peculiarities that have led this Rockefeller tree to take over social networks this year, which received a long list of mocking comments for its irregular foliage in recent weeks, with jokes in the style of that he has “cut his hair himself” and that perfectly represents an abrupt 2020 marked by the pandemic and the elections.

A surprise among the branches

But above all, it caused a sensation due to the surprise it had hidden among its branches: a small owl that was found with the arrival of the fir tree in Manhattan after having spent two days traveling in a truck.

“Rockefeller” or “Rocky”, as the tiny bird of about 12 centimeters (5 inches) was baptized, traveled more than 270 kilometers, despite which it was in good condition, “despite everything that had happened” when it was taken for recovery to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, the center reported on its website.

The bird, an adult specimen of the Saw-whet species, was released a few days later after having been fed, and the video and photos of its arrival at the center in a cardboard box and then comfortably wrapped with a blanket, were shared by thousands of people and have helped raise more than $ 17,000 for the organization.

The first ceremony of turning on the lights

The first Christmas tree to be installed at the site was erected in 1931 by construction workers on the site where Rockefeller Center was being built.

The first formal Monday lighting ceremony took place in 1933, and the tradition has continued since then with some variations.

Sometimes there have been two pines in place, but in 1942 there were three, adorned with red, white and blue balls, to support the troops fighting in World War II.

The trees of that year and those that were placed on successive Christmases, until the end of the war, were not adorned with lights because of the regulations that governed the armed conflict.

The tallest tree that has been placed so far was the one that was installed in 1999, at 30.5 meters, originally from the town of Killingworth, in the state of Connecticut. (December 3, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

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