Every year, a tree is cut down in Bringsværd Forest, near Grimstad in Norway, and is brought to Kirkwall Cathedral as a symbol of friendship between the two towns.
This tradition began in 1987:
|Orcadian 12th November 1987|
Saint Magnus Cathedral was founded by Kali Kalason, later to become Rognvald, nephew of St Magnus. Young Kali grew up in Norway and perhaps played in the woods which would later provide Kirkwall with our Christmas 'big tree'.
I want you to make a vow... you'll build a stone minster at Kirkwall more magnificent than any in Orkney, that you'll have it dedicated to your Uncle the holy Earl Magnus and provide it with all the funds it will need to flourish.
St Rognvald's father, Kol Kalasan to his son in the Orkneyinga Saga
More information can be found here: https://www.orcadian.co.uk/a-christmas-gift-from-grimstad/
and you can see Orkney Islands Council convener Harvey Johnston cutting down this year's tree here: https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/11/12/orkney-norway-friendship-marked-with-2019-christmas-tree-cutting-in-bringsvaerd-forest/ (Mr Johnston does somewhat undermine the whole thrust of our advent theme by saying 'Orkney has no trees' in the article. Grrrrrrrr.)
Information taken from Orkney-An Illustrated Architectural Guide and an article in edition #73 of Living Orkney, both by Leslie Burgher.