Sri Lanka breaks world record for tallest artificial Christmas tree

Sri Lanka surpassed the world record for the tallest artificial Christmas tree Saturday despite building delays forcing organisers to prune the structure by almost half, an official said, according to the AFP news agency.

Cricket legend Arjuna Ranatunga initiated plans to build the record-breaking tree in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, but ran into opposition from the Catholic church which said the money would be better spent on charity.

“Initial opposition… meant a delay of about 10 days in our construction work,” event coordinator Mangala Gunasekera told AFP.

“Our target was 100 metres (328 feet), but construction delays forced us to cut down the height,” he said.

As of Saturday morning, the tree was about 57 metres (187 feet) tall, he said, two metres taller than an artificial Christmas tree erected in the southern Chinese province of Guangzhou last year.

The Sri Lankan claim is subject to confirmation by the Guinness World Records.

Gunasekera said 600,000 coloured LED bulbs would be used to decorate the tree, along with a six-metre (20-foot) Santa and a 12-metre (40-foot) sleigh.

“On Christmas eve, we will switch on the lights,” he added.

Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup, has been at the forefront of the project to raise funds for the artificial tree as a symbol of religious unity.

The project was rescued after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith to secure his blessings.

The archbishop had initially described the project as “wasteful expenditure” and said that the estimated $200,000 cost would have been better spent on alleviating poverty.

Last year Sri Lanka’s Catholic church urged priests not to put up Christmas trees in their churches over the festive period, with Cardinal Ranjith saying they had no religious significance.


  1. Stupidest idea ever. Seriously folks what are we using for brains these days ….. Do we really need to break such a record? The tree itself looks totally horrible …. not to mention a total safety risk with so many people just below it. Mr.AR expected better things from you. The port is in desperate need of tug boats to bring in vessels. … don’t you think your time is better spent figuring out that problem instead of fiddling with Christmas trees. All in all think it’s a complete waste of money especially since it looks totally ridiculous.

  2. Waste of money and it does not look worth for money spent….could have done something for homeless people on streets or built a hospital….it does not look nice considering the money spent lack of taste…..

  3. Totally agreed with the previous two comments. They actually could’ve used the money for charity rather than putting up a christmas tree whichbisnt even permanent. This is a huge waste of money. Catholic priests were right.

  4. Congratulations to all concerned …a great physical achievement ,which will attract worldwide interest in Sri Lanka , for positive reasons rather than some of the more negative coverage it receives .As for remarks made by the church and others concerning it being a waste of money ….one only has to look at the vast amount of wealth and land accrued by the the church over centuries ,which could be used for the allieviation of poverty and hunger worldwide , instead of amassing more and more wealth , some of which is spent on fancy robes and garments for the clergy to parade in .perhaps a little more introspection would have been more appropriate rather than attacking the well meaning and inclusive efforts of those involved in this record breaking and positive achievement….people will be talking of this for many a month and if it attracts a positive interest in Sri Lanka then all the better for its existence

  5. The planned design had to be changed at the last minute to finish the tree in time. This was not the original shape that was planned. Please don’t condemn our record breakers. The 10 days that was paused was the reason for this change in shape….

  6. Agreed totally with the previous two comments. They actually could’ve done something better like giving the money for charity.

  7. It was alright ,a good idea to build up unity in our country.Still the organisers could have got some advises from the respested priests and other christian clergies ,since this has not got any religious significance ,spending nearly ,200,000 dollars on this short term project is an utter waste just to get an guinness which would not last till someone else breaks that record next year.Instead this hansome amount could have been spent on something permanently usefull for people in poverty under the patronage of some respected saints ,it could be some capital expenditures which would have generated some income to fulfil the needs of even some people in poverty.Which would have been accepted by every kind heartened citizens of this country.

    • Just argument sake…China building the iconic ship, Titanic. This is expected to draw a lot of tourists and already projected revenue with profits, Has the Christmas tree project also done some tourist attraction plan apart from celebrations? After all we don’t have to take it negative 100%. Better for a country to have some properly planned Icons, like Singapore’s Merlion structures, frances Pisa tower…at the end of the day Sri Lanka as a tourist destination must add a few structures to remember by many tourists who visit. It must be effectively design and build so that tourists will workout as a main point to visit these! So, not a bad idea going for Guinness…!


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