Nov. 27, 2006
The 56th annual celebration of the Hanging of the Greens at Morningside College will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. in the formal lounge at Dimmitt Hall, 3318 Vine Avenue.
First celebrated in 1950 and now one of the oldest traditions on campus, the Hanging of the Greens is a celebration that includes burning of a Yule log, hanging of several wreaths, and decorating a Christmas tree. Members of Morningside’s chapters of Mu Phi Epsilon, a women’s music fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a men’s music fraternity, will sing Christmas carols. Morningside President John Reynders and Robin Reynders will read about the history of the Hanging of the Greens. There will also be a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Refreshments will be served. The event, sponsored by Morningside’s Residence Life and the Residence Hall Association (RHA), is open to the public.
The ceremony begins with the Yule log service. Each year a portion of the previous year’s Yule log is used to start the new log to symbolize the continuity in tradition. At this time, the story is told of the ceremony’s beginnings in 1925, when Agnes Doolittle, a teacher from Spirit Lake, invited junior and senior class women from the college to her home for the burning of a special log her family had sent from England.
The Yule log came to Morningside in 1949 at the hands of seven freshmen class women from Spirit Lake, who brought pieces of the old log to Dimmitt Hall to burn with a new log. The following year, wreaths were hung and a tree was decorated, constituting the first ceremonial Hanging of the Greens.
After the Yule log is aflame and the story told, a wreath is hung by each class as the meaning of the wreath is given. The first wreath is hung by the senior class for the thankfulness of joy during the holiday season. The juniors hang the second wreath, which symbolizes the hope for eternal life. The third wreath is hung by the sophomores for humankind’s wish for peace. The freshman class hangs the last wreath for the love God has for humankind and the love every person has for each other.
The final part of the ceremony is the decorating of the tree. As tradition holds, each hall hangs on the tree an ornament that has been made by residents from the hall. The ornaments are displayed for four years to invoke the memories of the “families” formed on each hall. Students from Dimmitt Hall, Roadman Hall, the Residence Complex, and the Joan L. and Norman W. Waitt, Sr., Apartments and Donald E. Poppen Apartments will participate in the hanging of the ornaments.