Europeans seem to love their cross-European competitions. The most famous of these types of competitions is the Eurovision Song Contest, where each country submits a song each year and countries vote for other countries’ songs to find the most popular song of the year. It is a beloved competition in Europe; my American husband thinks it is odd and bad but interesting to watch because the whole thing is so hokey. Even though most of the songs do not make it big, a few artists who won the contest did become famous worldwide stars, such as ABBA for Sweden in 1974 and Celine Dion for Switzerland in 1988. Last year’s winner is Conchita Wurst, a full-bearded drag queen from Austria. Since last year’s winner is Austria, Austria will host this year’s contest in May.
Knowing the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest that has existed since 1958, I was nevertheless surprised to recently learn about a Eurovison Contest for Trees. The tree competition works the same way as the song contest, with the difference that the trees do not sing. The contest has been described as the “search for the most lovable tree, a tree with a story that can bring a community together.”
Fourteen trees from across Europe are in the running for 2015. For example, England is sending its tree of the year to the competition, Sherwood Forest’s Major Oak. It is supposedly more than one thousand years old and Robin Hood hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham in it. Slovakia will be represented by a 200-year-old white mulberry tree; the Czech Republic’s entry is a pine tree that looks like a five-headed dragon; France’s competitor is a 1,000-year-old chestnut tree with a 15-meter circumference (which is over 49 feet). The tree has been described as “half plant, half human.” Europeans definitely seem to love their trees. I am wondering if there is a U.S. version of this tree competition and who would win.
Voting for the 2015 competition seems to take place in February, so if you are interested and want to support your favorite tree, keep an eye out for an update on this official website: http://www.treeoftheyear.org/?lang=en
Details and quotes are from: Simpson, Eric. “Branching Out: Major Oak Aims to Win ‘Eurovision for Trees.’” BBC News. BBC, 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 Jan. 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-30344911
PS: A quick update – the results are in and here is the Tree of the Year for 2015 according to the official website: “The voting ended on 28 February 2015. The winner is the Oak tree on a football field from Estonia with 59 836 votes. The great plane of Tata (Hungary) with 53 487 votes placed second. Third place goes to Poplar pollard of the Remolinar (Spain) with 13 951 votes.”