London`s Norwegian Christmas Tree Ceremony and History – Real Life and Second Life by Jas (Blog 198)
Second Life was in perfect synergy with it
s real- life counterpart by having the Norwegian Tree Ceremony yesterday (8th December).Id like to include in this blog the poem that real life school children wrote, along with Kevin Crossley- Holland, who, according to a teacher who spoke in the Guardian article on Friday,”used lots of ideas from our school but made them make sense”. Here`s the poem, which was read at the ceremony in London by three local school children.
Decorating the Tree by Kevin Crossley-Holland
A new poem grown from the ideas, images and lines of London primary schoolchildren. Commissioned by the Poetry Society 2013
I am your tree. I grew in the north,
Year by year in the seasoned earth.
Sift, white shift, snowflakes, stars:
I was storm-shelter for carolling birds.
Dear creatures, what gifts have you brought?
The fresh mint of light. The dancing moon.
The hooves of reindeer, prancing on air.
The boom of a waterfall.
Wreaths of mist, twisting, rising.
We bring you time, come and gone.
I am ancient and always young
And I speak with countless tongues.
Your Tree of Life, your Guardian Tree,
I’ll watch over you by night and day.
Dear creatures, what gifts have you brought?
Oh, so many! A friend for always.
Laughter. Upside down frowns.
Skateboarding from roof to roof.
The best parts of our own best memories.
We bring you hopes. We bring our dreams.
But darker than bats’ wings – we’re afraid
Of the dark. This dread, this ache
Before we wake. So far from home.
That man with a gun. Being alone.
We bring our fears. We bring sorrows.
I’m your World Tree, scarred long ago,
Oozing, sharp as hoar-frost on a bough.
I creak and groan but I rise above gloom
And wherever you are, I’ll be your home.
I am a gift. So are you,
and I’ll feed you blossom and sweet fruit.
I laugh, I weep, I wait in patience,
I sing for the healing of all nations.
This is all a waking dream
and I’ll remember it for ever,
Our trembling tree where we are one.
If I could, I’d give you my name.
I’ll give you my heart. I’ll give you love.
Back in Second Life we took the ceremony just as seriously, and welcomed Ey Ren, who had come to present us with the tree from the SL Norwegian Sim, heartily. Ey, who had got into the Christmas spirit and was dressed as an elf, spoke about the 64 years where Norway have traditionally given a tree to real- life London, and said that it ” is an everlasting token of gratitude for (our) help and support during those five trying years in the Second World War, where Norway was under foreign occupation.”
He reminded us that for six years Second Life Norway has kept up this tradition by donating a tree to the London Sims, and said that “what the real tree in London symbolises can also be transferred to the tree next to us here”, but he also said that the ceremony was symbolic of things in the present, also. He spoke of it as a “token of the good relationship between our two nations in RL and SL”, and said that “the Yuletide celebration is a very old tradition” in both countries, which stretches back ” a long time before the Christ Mass was placed on this time of the year.” He smiled that we keep a lot of the traditions from the past these days ” not least when it comes to eating and drinking.” When King Harald the Bluetooth (probably born 935 according to Wikipedia- no I hadn`t heard of him either) celebrated Yuletide, according to Ey, he was said to have been unable to “see to his properties and get out to meet with others until about May.” Wow that`s one mammoth Christmas bash! His son Svien Twobeard (well they didn`t have electric shavers in those days!) tried to make this work to his advantage, Ey laughed, by “hoping that his father would take ill from all the eating and drinking and he would get his hands on his heritage!”
As Ey lit the tree he wished everyone ” the best for Yuletide and the new year to come”, and said that “on behalf of SL Norway the tree (was) present(ed) from the depths of (their) virtual woods.”
Then, it was over to Debs Regent,Manager and Owner of the London Sims, to make her acceptance speech. She started by saying ” Today a Norwegian Spruce has been donated by the people of Norway and will be illuminated in Hyde Park.” It is, she stated, “one of the classiest Christmas decorations in the city: no corporate sponsorship, nothing flashy or fancy, just traditional lights and a whacking great tree.” She spoke about how much we share with Norway, “including Viking blood” , and reminded everyone that” the English language has been shaped by Norwegian.” She said,too, that “the cultural bond has persisted to this day, resulting in a close cultural relationship between the two countries.” She laughed that we “even share the same dry sense of humour.” She spoke about the British people having a “great deal of respect for the people of Norway – their bravery in difficult times, their joy in good times and their candid nature- ever strong against would be invaders.”
Debs then shared a story from a Norwegian friend – aged 96, who was just “a little girl during the German occupation of Norway”. Norwegians were only allowed to keep one pig at that time, she explained- as two was thought of as “excessive and would make the Norwegians strong and healthy – and therefore defiant to German authority.” However Deb`s friend`s mother kept two pigs- “one of which loved music.” “So when it came to the German inspection of the pigsties”, Debs smiled, “my friend would open the door to the pigsty and her mother would play the piano” and “the pig that loved music trotted out of the pigsty into the living room and sat at her mother`s feet” where he was “covered by a blanket while the Germans inspected the pigsty.” Debs reminded us of the seriousness of the situation, though, by informing us that ” had the pig been found the family would have been shot”, and said that ” many Norwegians fled from that terror to the UK.” She believes that the tree represents more than just the help that the British gave Norway for the “hundreds of Norwegians who fled their country and set up home in the UK during the war.”
She concluded her speech by saying a ” thank you to Ey Ren and the wonderful Norway sims for their time- honoured gift to the British community of London,as a remembrance of the ties our two nations have to one another- from antiquity and into the far distant future.”
Both the speeches and the lighting of the tree were greeted with rousing applause from the large crowd of both British and Norwegian avatars- and probably a few more from all around the world.
Then, it was party time, but that`s for another blog. Who knew you could write such a long one! Read tomorrows offering for the massive party that concluded Sunday evening in Hyde Park , and for my pics of the top ten sexiest Christmas men and women in our sims, along with some great crowd shots. Three cheers for London- Hip, Hip….