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A Hanging of the Greens faculty committee suggests a new twist on an old tradition.

Seniors+in+the+courtyard+finishing+up+decorating.-+Christina+Siragusa+%E2%80%9917%2C+Brooke+Gannon+%E2%80%9917%2C+Tessa+Pszonak+%E2%80%9917%2C+MiKang+Kim+%E2%80%9917%2C+Sam+Burlow%E2%80%99+17%2C+Brook+Sillart%E2%80%9917%2C+LucyMarie+Gaulin%E2%80%9917%2C+Anya+Roy+%E2%80%9917%2C+Rebecca+Thomas+%E2%80%9917%2C+and+Catherine+Wang%E2%80%99+17
Seniors in the courtyard finishing up decorating.- Christina Siragusa ’17, Brooke Gannon ’17, Tessa Pszonak ’17, MiKang Kim ’17, Sam Burlow’ 17, Brook Sillart’17, LucyMarie Gaulin’17, Anya Roy ’17, Rebecca Thomas ’17, and Catherine Wang’ 17

Seniors in the courtyard finishing up decorating.- Christina Siragusa ’17, Brooke Gannon ’17, Tessa Pszonak ’17, MiKang Kim ’17, Sam Burlow’ 17, Brook Sillart’17, LucyMarie Gaulin’17, Anya Roy ’17, Rebecca Thomas ’17, and Catherine Wang’ 17

Seniors in the courtyard finishing up decorating.- Christina Siragusa ’17, Brooke Gannon ’17, Tessa Pszonak ’17, MiKang Kim ’17, Sam Burlow’ 17, Brook Sillart’17, LucyMarie Gaulin’17, Anya Roy ’17, Rebecca Thomas ’17, and Catherine Wang’ 17

Julianna Scaccia, Contributor

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What started with just a couple of students from the athletic board who decorated the school overnight and surprised the students before winter break evolved to what we know now as Hanging of the Greens. It’s been a tradition at SEM since 1987, according to former history faculty Harry Schooley. This year, on December 1, the day will be refreshed.

During morning meeting in late November arts faculty Susan Drozd and Caitlin Cass presented the new outline for the tradition to the students and faculty. Students were asked to submit a design with the theme of light, for a banner to be created by each class at Hanging of the Greens. The new banners will then be hung in the chapel. On December 1, students will come together and spend time making decorations and banners and literally hanging garlands of greens throughout the school.

“I think that it is a new tradition with the hope that it will continue to reflect all of the best parts of Hanging of the Greens, in particular the parts of it that reflect our community and what make it a special day for all of us to be together. We will celebrate and have fun but ensure that is inclusive for every member in the community – not just special for some people but special for everyone,” said Betsy Bloom ’08, SEM English faculty who is on the Hanging of the Greens committee.

Hanging of The Greens was an activity where each grade was assigned a spot in the school. The freshman typically took the study hall, sophomores got the library, juniors decorated the gallery and seniors took the front hall. Although the purpose of this holiday tradition was to have a day where everyone in the school can come together and spend time with one another before the holidays, decorations often were carelessly put up and a majority of them were bound to break or fall. This was not ideal because when people came to visit during this time the school often looked a mess.

Many people have strong opinions about this SEM tradition. People have reason to believe that Hanging of The Greens predominately favors Christmas and Hanukkah, as well along with those who celebrate these holidays. This was a valid argument because the decorations mainly consisted of a Christmas tree in the gallery, greens, ornaments, snowflakes and a few plastic cut out menorahs; it excluded people who do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah.

The new tradition was created with the sole purpose to eliminate the opinion that Hanging of The Greens excludes certain religions. Light, the theme of this year’s Hanging of the Greens, is universal. The banners represent grades, not denominations. “It’s nice because it’s a step away from our traditional Christmas exclusive ways of celebration, which is, therefore, a step towards making this entire school more inclusive, at least when it comes to SEM tradition,” said Melanie Tunkey ’18.

As expected, changing any tradition is met with some resistance, even from students who say they don’t ever attend Hanging of the Greens, and even before the new plans for day have been tried. “I have never once gone to Hanging of the Greens, the decorating is fine but the standing around and singing Christmas carols, first of all, is exclusive for people who are not Christian and is a waste of my time,” said Mackenzie Beck ’18. Kacie Ball also is not embracing change. “I think that the old tradition that we had was a very long-standing tradition that brought together the entire school and I feel like the idea behind the banners is a good one but the way that it’s being executed could be better and I like the old tradition better,” said Kacie Ball ’18.

In the end, old Hanging of the Greens is out and the decorating of the banners and literal hanging of greens is in. Some students liked the old Hanging of the Greens, some did not. People still have many questions about the new tradition and what to expect. We will have to wait until December 1 for the outcome of the exciting new tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fresh Greens