Roughly 14,000 luminarias will cover the campus Friday as part of the University of New Mexico’s oldest tradition, the Hanging of the Greens.
The festivities will begin at 5:45 p.m. with caroling in front of the Bookstore. Participants will proceed to the University House where UNM students will present the official wreath to the UNM president. The event will run until 8 p.m.
“Hanging of the Greens was started by Mortar Board in the 1950s. Chapter members would go up into the Sandia Mountains to gather evergreen bows to decorate the library and University House,” said Anna Allison, president of Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society. “It transitioned over the years to include the New Mexico tradition of holiday luminarias, and we have kept the ‘greens’ part of the tradition by presenting the UNM president with a holiday wreath to hang above the gates of University House.”
Luminarias are put up across New Mexico during the holiday season, and this event mirrors that tradition.
“This event is culturally impacting, because it incorporates New Mexico tradition with UNM campus, students and the community. We spend around four months preparing thousands of luminarias for this event,” Allison said.
Making as many luminarias as Mortar Board does for this event takes time and effort.
“UNM is known for Hanging of the Greens, and I want to see the beauty and all of the hard work everyone involved is doing,” said Jorge Rios, Residence Hall Association president.
The event intrigues many students from diverse backgrounds.
“What I am most excited for is watching first-year residents and students seeing it for the first time,” Rios said. “Many residents and students are from out of state and have no idea what luminarias even are, so watching them see the beauty in them is what I am looking forward to the most.”
Every year, community members and students alike gather to experience New Mexico in December.
“This year we would really like to see local community members, student organizations, as well as general UNM students show up to enjoy all the luminarias,” Allison said. “It is a chance for individuals who live out of state to see what the holidays are like (in New Mexico). This is just a small glimpse of what New Mexicans experience during December festivities, which is why we try to get a good amount of people to attend.”
Hanging of the Greens will conclude with the lighting of the “U” statue at Hodgin Hall while many gather to bask in holiday cheer.
“I like this event, because it makes the University of New Mexico unique. Not many other universities do an event like this, so it just makes it even more special for the Lobos,” Rios said. “Seeing all Lobos from all packs of life come together to spread some holiday cheer is something I love the most.”
Amy Byres is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amybyres12.