On December 7, Pope Benedict XVI switched on the lights of the biggest Christmas tree in the world, a “sign of universal peace and brotherhood among peoples” located in the Italian town of Gubbio.
The “tree”, which is made up of an arrangement of colored lights on the side of Mount Ingino, has been erected by volunteers every year since 1981. Its base is approximately 450 meters wide and it extends for 750 meters up the hillside from the city’s medieval walls to the basilica of St. Ubaldo. The silhouette of the tree is marked with 300 green lights, and it covers a surface area of some 130,000 square meters illuminated with 400 multicolored lights. At the top is a comet made up of 250 lights covering an area of 1,000 square meters.
The tree is illuminated every year on December 7, during a traditional celebration attended by representatives of the world of culture, show business and politics. Pope Benedict XVI activated the illumination from his apartments in the Vatican Apostolic Palace. He touched the screen of a Sony “Tablet” with an “Android” operating system which, via the Internet, transmits the command to switch on the electric current to the tree.
The Holy Father was also seen in Gubbio thanks to a television linkup organized by the Vatican Television Centre. The event, which was televised both nationally and internationally, began at 5.30 p.m. and the illumination of the tree at 6.30 p.m.