Citizens of the island country of Sri Lanka located just off the southern coast of India celebrated the unveiling of the word's tallest Christmas tree Saturday, which could potentially topple the Guinness Book of World Record at 238-feet-tall.
The artificial tree cost an estimated $80,000 to build. It was propped up by a steel-and-wire frame, which was covered by a plastic tarp adorned with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver, according to Fox News Sunday.
The tree was covered with 600,000 LED bulbs, which glimmered below a 20-foot-tall shining star at the top.
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka criticized the small Asian country’s government for constructing the tree, calling it a “waste of money” that could have been used to help those in need this holiday season, according to local reports from the capital city Columbo Sunday. The building of the tree, which required the labor of hundreds of port workers and volunteers for four months, were halted for six days earlier this December when Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith publicly denounced it. But Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe put the project back on track when he assured that it wasn’t funded with taxpayer money, but by donations from individuals and private organizations.
Mangala Gunasekara, the artificial Christmas tree’s main organizer, said it was created with the hopes of promoting ethnic and religious harmony in a country that is 70 percent Buddhist, according to Sri Lankan census in 2011. The country of roughly 20.48 million residents had a population of approximately 1.5 million Catholics.
Pending confirmation from Guinness World Records officials, the tree would break the current record set in Guangzhou, China, in 2015 that reached 180-feet-tall. That tree was also an artificial one, containing towers of light covered with fake foliage, ornaments, and lamps.
The world’s tallest cut Christmas tree was created in 1950 at a shopping center in Seattle, Washington. The tree, which was a Douglas fir, was recorded to have stood 221-feet-tall.