A Christmas tree, 72.1-metres tall, erected in Sri Lanka last year has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest artificial one ever put up.
The government was recently given the award for the tree, erected at the Galle Face Green in Colombo, which topped the previous record, a 55-meter Christmas tree in Guangdong, China.
The certificate from Guinness recognized the feat had been achieved by Arjuna Ranatunga Social Services (Sri Lanka).
The tree’s construction cost an estimated US$80,000 and was privately funded. It’s steel-and-wire frame was covered with a plastic net decorated with tens of thousands of pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver and 600,000 LED lights.
The tree was criticized by the Catholic Church as a waste of money, who suggested that the funds could be better spent on helping the poor. But Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe interceded and convinced Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to agree to its putting up.
“Those who are responsible for this construction should use these funds to provide scholarships for poor children or construct houses for poor people,” said Cardinal Ranjith at the time.
“Construction work should be abandoned. Christmas is an occasion for sharing funds with the needy, not to waste money on lavishness.… The market economy is using religion as a tool for selling Christmas,” he added.
The Cardinal was told that the tree was not built with government money but by private donors and was meant to promote communal harmony.