Have you ever wondered where the popular holiday song "Deck the Halls" originated or why they're so excited about hanging holly? Well the song was written in honor of an old English custom in which people would..well..'deck their halls with holly.' Like all traditions, the custom inspired holiday spirit and set a mood for the merry season. Thus, many homes, work places, and institutions took on the popular tradition.
Inspired by the ceremonial tradition held at Peabody College, President Herman Donovan began the Hanging of the Greens (Eastern's version of Deck the Halls) in 1930. The ceremony consisted of females in white robes who would gracefully parade and hang mountain laurel in Burnam Hall the first week of December in celebration of the holiday season. Candle lighting, Christmas songs, and a guest speaker,usually a leader of one of the religious organizations on campus, would soon follow. This ceremony continued in Burnam until 1941 when it was moved to Keen Johnson to give the entire campus an opportunity to see the greens as they traveled in and out of KJ cafeteria.
Hanging of the Greens grew to include over 100 students in the procession alone. Members included those of the Mortar Board, Panhellenic Council, Interfraternities Council, Multi-Cultural Assosication, and many more. However, over time, the participation dissipated and in 1998, after 67 years of tradition, the Hanging of the Greens was canceled.
It's sad to think of all we simply let go over time, especially traditions. Traditions give us a common bond, a sense of pride and a surge of spirit that inspires us to grow, achieve, and even write songs that live forever, such as "Deck the Halls." So in the upcoming year, foster tradition and inspiration, cultivate creativity, and don't allow tradition to slip through the cracks of life.