'Hanging of the Greens'
President Robert Frank, wife Janet, along with several friends at University House during last year's Hanging of the Greens.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That means winter break and spending time with family and friends. But before that, the UNM Mortar Board Senior Honor Society invites all to University of New Mexico’s oldest student tradition, the ‘Hanging of the Greens,’ Friday, Dec. 5. That evening some 14,000 luminarias cast a flickering glow all across campus.

As organizers, the Mortar Board provides student organizations with the necessary sand, bags and candles to construct the luminarias, which are set in walkways, doorways, rooftops and walls across campus.

The festivities begin outside the UNM Bookstore at 5:45 p.m. with hot chocolate, biscochitos and caroling. The caroling route will make its first stop at the University House where UNM students will present the official wreath to President Robert Frank and his wife, Janet. The caroling will then push on to Hodgin Hall for the President’s reception and a holiday lighting of the “U.”

In recent years, the event has drawn crowds in excess of 1,000 people, and the Mortar Board hopes to continue that trend. The entire UNM community is invited and attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped children’s book to place under the tree at Hodgin Hall to be donated to the UNM Children’s Hospital.

Hanging of the Greens has been a tradition since Lena C. Clauve, former UNM student and UNM Dean of Women, began it in the 1930s. The tradition started with students driving to the Sandia Mountains, where they would gather greenery, which they would use to decorate the Student Union Building.

In the spirit of giving, the morning after the ‘Hanging of the Greens,’ the luminarias placed across campus will be free for the taking.