Controversy over the local Christmas decor in Somewhere, USA, is as tra- ditional as sales on Black Friday. Someone is sure to raise a stink about the legalities of setting a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. It’s nice to see that the USA doesn’t have the exclusive rights to squabbles over holiday symbolism.
In Brussels, the stink rose with the erection of a Christmas tree in Grand Place, the eye-catching heart of the city. The local tourism board decided
to install a modern tree instead of the traditional pine one. Some folks claimed that the avant-garde sculpture was raised to appease the various religious groups of the multicultural city. In other words, it was chosen as a benign symbol of Christmas to appease the Muslims, a thriving, influential populace in Brussels. Folks got so upset that 10,000 (or 25,000 depending on the media source) got together and signed a petition to voice their objection to the nontraditional selection. The head of the local tourist board explained to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that his municipality was simply trying to inject some freshness in the plaza where the sur- rounding buildings date back hundreds of years.
“What we want is just to modernise the pleasure of winter, of this Christmas market and all the image of Brussels,” said Councilor Philippe Close. He went on to assure the BBC that a nativity scene would be present.
ABIES-Electronica, the 82-foot, eco-friendly tree created by a French architecture collective, 1024 Architecture, didn’t look like much during daylight hours. At night, it rocked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m79JN4t9K2k.
Currently the Lezovi crew is cruising by land through Europe and has house sitting assignments in Belgium, England and France. S/V Happy Times lies safely in Rio Dulce, Guatemala, awaiting our return in May 2013.