“God jul, Washington!” is the way they say “Merry Christmas!” in Norway. The lighting of the 20th annual Norwegian Christmas tree at Union Station helped kick off the holiday season in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The 32-foot tree is decorated with U.S. and Norwegian flags and 20,000 lights. It symbolizes Norway’s gratitude for the United States’ assistance during and after World War II. This year’s celebration highlights Norwegian-U.S. partnership in the polar regions. A poster exhibition, “Norway-USA: Partners in the Polar Regions,” by Oslo’s Fram Museum, will be on view near the tree.
Decorated with hundreds of custom-made polar bear ornaments, the tree was presented by the Ambassador of Norway Kare R. Aas. Norwegian singer Jardar Johansen sang melodies from his home country. Christmas carols were sung by the Carolers of Greater Washington and Santa and Mrs. Claus visited with children.
The tree will remain on display in Union Station’s Great Hall throughout December. The Great Hall has been fully restored nearly five years after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook the area.
*View Jeff Malet’s photos of the Norwegian Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Union Station by clicking on the icons below.*