- Title: VATICAN-CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Vatican lights up for Christmas celebrations
- Date: 19th December 2014
- Summary: VATICAN CITY (DECEMBER 19, 2014) (REUTERS) PEOPLE GATHERING TO SEE MARCHING BAND ARRIVING IN ST. PETER'S SQUARE VARIOUS OF MARCHING BAND PLAYING
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2015 12:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA12FQ658IKWWEADNZ19ANNU44C
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- Story Text: The Vatican was bathed in an array of new lights on Friday (December 19) as it kicked off its annual Christmas celebrations.
The lighting of the tree in St. Peter's Square, which traditionally marks the start of the Christmas celebrations at the Vatican, coincided this year with the unveiling of the nativity crib and with the inauguration of the new LED's lighting of the basilica's dome and facade.
The nativity crib is traditionally unveiled in a separate ceremony closer to Christmas day.
The 25-and-a-half-metre-tall fir tree decorating St. Peter's Square came from the majestic Sila mountains of the Southern Calabria region, while the crib figures were donated by the Arena Foundation of the north-eastern town of Verona.
The life-size terra-cotta statues were originally created for the performance of the opera ''Elixir of Love'' by Gaetano Donizetti's in Verona's notorious amphitheatre, Vatican Radio reported.
Meeting civil authorities from Calabria and Verona on Friday, Pope Francis said the tree and the nativity scene touch the hearts of all people with their message of light, hope and love and are part of a heritage that must be preserved for future generations, Vatican radio also said.
The lighting of the tree and the unveiling of the crib was followed shortly by the switching of the new LED illumination system of the basilica's facade and dome.
The new system is made up by 315 LED lights meant to reduce energy consumption and costs.
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