In keeping with a 41 year tradition with the province of Nova Scotia, the city of Boston's Christmas Tree was lit on Boston Common last week.
I wrote about the origins of this Christmastime tradition between Nova Scotia and Boston for almost as long as I've had this blog.
Basically on December 6th 1917, at the height of World War One, a French munitions ship caught fire after a collision in Halifax Harbor. The ensuing blast killed nearly 2000 people and laid waste to much of the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth. Red Cross officials in Boston got word of the catastrophe via telegraph and immediately began assembling a train loaded with doctors, nurses, medicine, food and tents for Nova Scotia in what would be widely considered a blueprint for disaster relief in the future.
As a token of their thanks, the following year, the province of Nova Scotia arranged to have a tall and sturdy Christmas Tree shipped to the city of Boston for Chritmastime. It appeared the gift was a one-time deal until the early 1970s when the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association decided they could promote their product by reviving the tradition.
Since then, the Christmas Tree tradition has continued uninterrputed, although the province now handles the selection and transport of the tree to Boston. While there is no monetary compensation, many Nova Scotians consider it an honor to have one of their trees selected.
The Boston Christmas Tree making its way through Shelburne, NS with police escort. Tree For Boston photo via Facebook
This year's Boston tree is a 70 year old, 45 ft tall white spruce that comes from Paul and Jan Hicks of Jordan Bay, NS. In addition to being accompanied by Nova Scotia Deputy Premier Frank Corbett and two uniformed Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, this year's Boston Christmas Tree apparently is also social media savvy.
You see, the Hicks' tree is the first to update its users of its status via twitter or facebook- tweeting under the handle @TreeForBoston. Not only were followers updated of the Tree's travels, but also its getting prepped for last Thursday's tree-lighting ceremony.
And as Bostonians take in the sight of this year's Christmas tree, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources is already searching for candidates to be 2013's Boston Christmas Tree.