Nov. 30, 2007
The 57th annual celebration of the Hanging of the Greens at Morningside College will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. in the formal lounge at Dimmitt Hall, 3318 Vine Ave.
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. Terri Curry, Morningside vice president for student life and enrollment, and Pamla Hoadley, wife of Morningside Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College William Deeds, will read the history of the Hanging of the Greens and light the Yule log. Santa and his elves also will visit the ceremony. 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. The story is told of the ceremony’s beginnings in 1925, when Agnes Doolittle, a teacher from Spirit Lake, Iowa, invited junior and senior class women from the college to her home for the burning of a special log her family sent from England.
The Yule log came to Morningside in 1949 at the hands of seven freshman 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, each class hangs a wreath and explains the meaning of the wreath. The senior class hangs the first wreath, which represents the thankfulness of joy during the holiday season. Juniors hang the second wreath to symbolize the hope for eternal life. Sophomores hang the third wreath 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. Students hang ornaments made by residents from each of the student residence halls on campus. The ornaments are displayed for four years to invoke the memories of the “families” formed in each hall. Students from Dimmitt Hall, Roadman Hall, Residence Complex, Waitt Apartments, Poppen Apartments and Lags Hall will hang the ornaments.