The Tree Festival, which takes place each year on the fourth Sunday in November in Cyprus, has been celebrated on the island since 1920, the forestry department reported, in its announcement ushering in this year’s ‘Week of the Tree.’

The Tree Festival in its current form started in the United States in 1872, when Michigan politician, Julius Sterling, was inspired to inaugurate the event by planting more than 1,000,000 trees in a single day.

Sterling’s idea was subsequently adopted in other countries until it became established around the globe. In Cyprus the festival was initially embraced by a small group of foresters in 1920. It has since expanded and is currently organised by a special committee of the forestry department with the minister of agriculture as official speaker at the event.

The tree festival gives us the opportunity to reflect upon and understand the benefits of forests to humankind, the forestry department announcement said, adding that the need to protect and expand forests is imperative.

Thousands of saplings are donated yearly by the department to individual members of the public and organised groups in support of expanding greenery on the island and mitigating climate change.

This year the Tree Festival will kick off on Sunday, November 27 at the Second Primary School of Agios Dhometios.

During the week of November 27 to December 3, events, celebrations and tree planting will take place throughout the island.