Vatican Christmas Tree

Vatican Christmas Tree | Christmas at Vatican 2021

Being the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, it should come as no surprise that the Vatican pulls out all the stops for Christmas. Christmas is a magical 21-day affair in Vatican city and well, no Christmas celebration is complete without a Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree at the Vatican

The Christmas tree is installed in the center of Saint Peter's Square, along with a life-size nativity scene.

Christmas Tree 2021

Vatican Christmas Tree

This year's Christmas tree is a 113-year-old fir that stands at more than 90 feet tall and weighs 8 tons. It arrived at St. Peter’s Square on November 23. The tree will accompany the Nativity Scene, which this year celebrates Peru’s 200th anniversary.

The tree comes from Andalo, a small village in the Dolomites of Paganella. The tree will be decorated with 600 wooden balls created by hand by the craftsmen of Andalo.

The lighting of the Christmas scene will take place on Friday, December 10. According to the Governorate of Vatican City the tree will be equipped with low energy consumption LED lighting.

Brief History of The Christmas Tree Tradition at the Vatican

Also dubbed the St. Peter's Square Christmas Tree, the Vatican Christmas Tree refers to the tree that is decorated and erected at St. Peter's Square as part of the Christmas celebrations.

The tradition of placing a Christmas Tree and the Nativity Scene at the Vatican started in 1982, during the pontification of Pope John Paul II.

The first-ever Christmas Tree came from Italy and since then, every year, a tree is donated by a different European country or region.

Christmas at the Vatican

Christmas at Vatican

Christmas celebrations at the Vatican start on December 8th and ends on January 6th. The unveiling of the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square kicks off the festive season in the Vatican.

Even though most of the iconic attractions of Vatican City such as the Vatican Museums are closed on December 25 and 26, the Christmas season draws a large number of visitors. The Vatican Christmas Eve mass is the most-watched Christmas mass in the world and you have to book tickets to attend the mass at least 2 months in advance.

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Past Christmas Trees at Vatican

Over the past 39 years, the Vatican has seen many kinds of trees from different parts of Europe. Take a look at where the past Christmas Trees at Vatican have come from.

YEAR

SPECIES

HEIGHT

PLACE OF ORIGIN

2020

Spruce

30 meters (98 ft.)

Kočevje, Slovenia

2019

Spruce

26 meters (85 ft.)

Veneto, Italy

2018

Spruce

23 meters (75 ft.)

Pordenone, Italy

2017

Spruce

21 meters (69 ft.)

Gołdap, Poland

2016

Spruce

25 meters (82 ft.)

Trento, Italy

2015

Spruce

25 meters (82 ft.)

Ehenfeld bei Hirschau, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, Germany

2014

Fir

25 meters (82 ft.)

Calabria, Southern Italy

2013

Fir

25 meters (82 ft.)

Waldmünchen, Bavaria, Germany

2012

Silver Fir

30 meters (98 ft.)

Pescopennataro, Italy

2011

Spruce

30 meters (98 ft.)

Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukraine

2010

Spruce

33.5 meters (110 ft.)

Bolzano, South Tyrol, northern Italy

2009

Norway Spruce

30 meters (98 ft.)

Ardennes forests near Spa, Wallonia, Belgium

2008

Norway spruce

33 meters (108 ft.)

Municipality of Gutenstein, Lower Austria, Austria

2007

Fir

30 meters (98 ft.)

Val Badia, in the Dolomites mountains, Italy

2006

Fir

33.5 meters (110 ft.)

Taverna, Calabria, Italy

2005

Fir

33 meters (108 ft.)

Afiesl, Upper Austria, Austria

2004

Fir

32.5 meters (107 ft.)

Pinzolo, Trento region, Alps mountains, Italy

2003

Spruce

32 meters (105 ft.)

Pré-Saint-Didier, Valle D’Aosta, Italy

2002

Fir

28 meters (92 ft.)

Gorski kotar, Croatia 

2001

Transylvania, Romania

2000

Carinthia, Austria

1999

Moravka, Czech Republic

1998

Schwarzwald, Germany

1997

Zakopane, Tatra Mountains, Poland

1996

Kočevje, Slovenia

1995

Obertraubling, Regensburg, Germany

1994

Žilina, Slovakia

1993

Graz-Seckau, Styria, Austria

1992

South Tyrol, Italy

1991

Vorarlberg, Austria

1990

Ponte di Legno, Brescia, Italy

1989

Schärding, Upper Austria, Austria

1988

Cadore, Italy

1987

Carinthia, Austria

1986

Toblach, South Tyrol

1985

South Tyrol, Italy

1984

Waldmünchen, Bavaria, Germany

1983

Tyrol, Austria

1982

Fir

Alban Hills, Italy

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All Your Questions About Christmas Trees at Vatican Answered

Q. Is there a Christmas tree at the Vatican?

A. Every year a tree is donated to the Vatican by a different region in Europe. Unveiling of the Vatican Christmas Tree, or the Saint Peter's Square Christmas Tree, kickstarts the Christmas celebrations at Vatican.

Q. What can I see at the Vatican during Christmas?

A. You can explore the beautiful country, its artsy streets, the picturesque Christmas tree and nativity scene, pretty markets and of course, experience the popular Christmas Mass from Peter's Square.

Q. When did the tradition of putting up Christmas tree start in Vatican?

A. The first Christmas tree was erected in Saint Peter's Square in 1982, under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

Q. What is special about the 2021 Christmas tree at Vatican?

A. This year's Christmas tree is a 113-year-old fir that stands at more than 90 feet tall and weighs 8 tons that comes from Andalo, a small village in the Dolomites of Paganella. The tree will be decorated with 600 wooden balls created by hand by the craftsmen of Andalo.

Q. Is the Vatican City open during Christmas time?

A. Most landmarks, including the Vatican museum, Sistine chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica are closed during the Christmas time i.e. December 25-26th.

Q. What is open at the Vatican during Christmas?

A. While most iconic landmarks remain shut during the Christmas season, you can explore the St. Peter’s Basilica and the St. Peter's Square during the Christmas.