Dec 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka, a Buddhist majority country, setting the Guinness record for World's tallest Christmas tree shows national coexistence, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says.
Prime Minister made this observation when he was presented with the certificate of the Guinness record for the World's Tallest Christmas Tree at the Temple Trees yesterday.
Speaking at the event, the Premier said the place where the Tallest Christmas Tree was built was a military camp few years ago but today it is known as a symbol of peace.
He pointed out that a majority of Sri Lankan are Buddhists and the team that built the tree included people of all religions.
"Today the people as Sri Lankans respect their own religion and culture and allows the freedom for everyone to do so. Although it is a majority Sinhala Buddhist country, everyone has the freedom to practice their own religion, culture. Not only they have the freedom, others also join them," the Premier said.
He observed that there was no division such as "Sinhala", "Tamil" and "Muslim" when this task was accomplished. He added that it points out the necessity for Sri Lanka to project to the world the importance of national co-existence.
"If we continue to coexist in all aspects, our country will be an example to the world," the Premier noted.
"We created a Guinness record through the construction of the largest Christmas tree in the world as well as a record of unity in Sri Lanka," the Prime Minister said.
The Premier praising the team that built the tree said it was the creativity of Sri Lankans that made the tallest Christmas Tree in the world a reality and significant tasks can be accomplished optimizing the creativity of Sri Lankans.
The Sri Lankan Christmas tree built last year under the aegis of the then Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga on the Galle Face Green in Colombo was 238 feet (73 m) tall and opened on Christmas Eve 2016. It was entered initially into the wrong category to be evaluated by the Guinness World Records delaying its certification.
Construction of the 325 feet Christmas tree got delayed after the Catholic Church objected to the project. Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith protested the expenditure on the idea of Port and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga calling the initiative a waste of money.
Construction resumed on 12 December after Prime Minister intervened to mitigate the Catholic Church's opposition to the project informing the Archbishop that the tree is being built with private donations.
However, the delay of about 10 days forced the organizers to prune the structure by almost half as there were fears that it would not be completed by Christmas Eve.
The certificate reads that the fete of the largest artificial Christmas Tree was achieved by Arjuna Ranatunga Social Services of Sri Lanka, Colombo and dated December 24, 2016.