Thousands of lights were lit on New York City’s main Christmas tree. Hundreds of people watched the ceremony on one of the city’s central squares – Rockefeller Plaza.
The 24-meter Norwegian spruce weighing 12 tons was brought from Vestal (New York State) on November 11. To decorate it required a garland about 5 miles long, consisting of more than 50 thousand multi-colored bulbs. The top of the spruce is crowned by a crystal star weighing more than 400 kg, decorated with 3 million crystals of Swarovski.
Before the lights were turned on, a concert was held on the fir tree. It was attended by musical performers Cher, Barry Manilow, Chloe Bailey, Keke Palmer, Katharine McPhee and Manuel Turizo.
The Christmas tree was first erected near Rockefeller Center in 1931. The turning on of the garlands has been a regular occurrence since 1933, and the ceremony has been televised since 1951.
In 2023, the event took place against a backdrop of pro-Palestinian protests. The ceremony itself passed without incident, but protesters with Palestinian flags and placards gathered in nearby streets. At the New York Police Department, law enforcement officials anticipated the demonstrations and took the necessary measures in advance. Police officers are “ready to protect those gathered for the ceremony” and “will not tolerate its disruption or threat to public safety,” the department assured.