West Virginia Wesleyan College will celebrate the holidays with the annual Hanging of the Greens and Festival of Lessons and Carols.
The Hanging of the Greens will take place on Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. in Kresge Hall in the Martin Religious Center. The Department of Music, in collaboration with the Chapel Office, will then present its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols on Dec.8 at 4 p.m. in Wesley Chapel.
The Hanging of the Greens began as an ancient English custom. Before Christianity reached the British Isles, the inhabitants observed various pagan rituals, one of which was the celebration of the winter solstice, which comes in the month of December.
When the Christian gospel reached the shores of Great Britain, some of the early pagan rituals were blended with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The custom of decorating the walls with greenery continued to take on new meaning under Christian influence, as part of the Christmas celebration. The hanging of the greens at the College from year to year signifies the official opening of the Advent and the Christmas.
Each year at Wesleyan, members from across the campus community get together to cut, create, and hang the wreaths and garlands that will decorate campus throughout the holiday season.
"Making and hanging the garlands and wreaths that transform Wesley Chapel for the Christmas season is an oft-mentioned memory for our alumni," said Angela Gay Kinkead, class of '79, dean of the Chapel.
"We all work side-by-side on this project and days later, it really comes together when the community gathers in the Chapel for the weaving of scripture and song. The Festival of Lessons and Carols is one of our finest moments."
The Festival of Lessons and Carols is an age-old tradition that traces its roots to King's College in England. The nine lessons, read by members of the College and Buckhannon communities, present the Biblical story of Christmas, from the prophecies of Jesus' birth through the Gospel accounts of His birth.
The Wesleyan Singers, Concert Chorale, Concentus Vocum, and Brass Ensemble will be performing carols and works by Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, Bob Chilcott, and many more. Dr. R. Daniel Hughes and Dr. James Moore will be conducting with Dr. Melody Meadows assisting on organ.
Following the program, those in attendance will gather outside for the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree and singing of carols, held between the Chapel and Jenkins Hall. Then folks may choose to continue the festivities with a special holiday meal in the French A. See Dining Hall. Cost for the dinner is $9.25 for the general public and $8.20 for faculty and staff. This event is free and open to the public.