NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City was held on Wednesday night, officially kicking off the holiday season in the metropolis.
At around 9 p.m. (0200 GMT, Thursday), more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights were lit up on the 75-foot (22.86-meter-tall) Norway spruce tree, now in its 80th year. The Swarovski crystal star on top of the tree has 25,000 crystals and weighs 550 pounds (249.48 kilograms).
The tree was donated by Jason Perrin of State College, Pennsylvania. It was first noticed by Erik Pauze, Rockefeller Center's head gardener, in September 2010. Each year since then, Pauze returned to State College to monitor the tree's growth and this year, he decided the condition and timing was just right.
"This is a spectacular tree that I know many people will enjoy this Christmas and holiday season, lit up in Rockefeller Center. I am also very excited that the tree will eventually become part of someone's home," said Perrin, who attended the tree-lighting ceremony with family and friends.
The Christmas tree will remain lit and on display in the plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues every day from 5:30 a.m. (1030 GMT) to 11:30 p.m. (0430 GMT, the next day) until 9 p.m. (0200 GMT, Jan. 8) on Jan. 7.
After the holiday, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, an international nonprofit working on poverty housing. It will be made into lumber and used for home building.
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the decorations have stood as a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike. This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Christmas tree lighting tradition.
Workers used to line up beneath a Christmas tree on the Rockefeller Plaza construction site to collect their paychecks during the height of the Great Depression, according to Rockefeller Center.