When Christmas lights and other decorations appear on houses and yards along the famous Maine lobster coast, another strictly Maine lobster tradition occurs. Lobster traps are stacked high on land in the shape of a Christmas tree and are decorated with Christmas lights and become the centerpiece of holiday festivals.
Lobster is considered one of the most popular celebration foods in the country, and the Maine lobster dinner is especially popular during the holidays. A million pounds or more of live Maine lobster harvested by fisherman from these coastal towns are shipped all over the country between Thanksgiving and New Years. So it is only natural that towns that provide the fishermen that catch the popular holiday food should do something special with the tools of the trade. In one town, more than a thousand lobster traps were used to create a lobster trap Christmas tree.
According to the Bangor Daily News (BDN), a 60 foot Lobster Trap Christmas Tree stands in Beals at the Moosabec Reach from Jonesport. The traps are decorated and topped with buoys arranged in the form of a cross.
Another lobster trap Christmas tree stands in Rockland and is more than 30 feet tall and features an an illuminated lobster.
According to BDN, the two Maine municipalities are like countless other places across the country that erect large Christmas trees in public gathering spots. Only instead of using actual trees, they use decorated lobster traps.
The display in Rockland has been erected every year since 2003. This is the second year the people of Jonesport and Beals have decided to get into the act and build one. The Beals’ lobster trap tree consists of 1,364 traps, nearly twice as many as the number they used in 2010. It took roughly a week to build.
According to the locals, serving lobster for celebrations or during the holidays is a tradition older than America itself. The lobster trap Christmas tree is just another way to celebrate the tradition.
A television segment about the Lobster trap Christmas trees is scheduled to be aired on The Learning Channel at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.
© Wayne Howe 2011