The Christmas tree in the centre of the small Estonian town of Rakvere has become one of the most famous Christmas trees in the world in 2014.
Unlike the usual custom of harvesting forests for the traditional town square decoration, the local council authorities took an innovative approach this year. Designed by Teet Suur, the local council’s Cultural Arts Manager, the Rakvere Christmas tree was built by twelve local students who used waste wood from the local mills.
It took about a week to erect and the 33-foot (10-metre) tree has polarised opinions in the town since. Calling it a “pyre”, one local citizen went as far as to start a Facebook campaign, collecting money to buy a “proper tree” instead for the town square.
The others say it is a good idea that at least for once, a natural tree has been saved in a forest.
“Usually, the traditional tree has been the only one staying upright among drunken party goers during the New Year’s Eve. This year’s idea to erect an architecturally interesting Christmas tree is a brave, witty and a stylish act that adds creative spark to local environment,” the Estonian media figure, Hannes Võrno, said to the local newspaper, Virumaa Teataja.
Teet Suur, until recently a farmer who discovered his creative talents and graduated from an art school as a sculptor just few years ago, is amused. He said that every visitor to town, as well as local inhabitants, should feel that Rakvere is a lively and creative place where people could enjoy “artistic pleasure”. According to the 41-year old artist, it is precisely his task as the man in charge of local arts affairs, to challenge the stereotypes and make people think.
Despite some local conservative opposition, by all accounts, Suur has succeeded. Not only is the entire Estonia now talking about the small town’s Christmas tree, but Rakvere’s main festive decoration is fast becoming world famous.
The Huffington Post included it among “The Most Over-The-Top Christmas Trees Of 2014“, encouraging its readers to “check out these amazing trees from around the world that have captured our imaginations this year”.
Rakvere’s was among the 14 trees that made the list from around the world. The Chinese media has also reported about it on at least two different occasions. Not bad for the town with a population of just over 15,000.