UNM brings holiday tradition into the 21st century

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On the evening of Dec 6. the University of New Mexico will be merry and bright with thousands of luminarias for a time-honored tradition, the annual Hanging of the Greens.

Luminarias line 25 buildings on UNM’s main campus

Nearly 2,000 people are expected to attend the event hosted by the school’s Mortar Board Senior Honor Society

The tradition dates back to the 1950s when members of the Mortar Board would go to the Sandia Mountains and collect evergreen bows to decorate the president’s house and the library. Over time, it transitioned into a caroling event, ending with a presentation of a holiday wreath to the president. Eventually, it became the luminaria-lit caroling-extravaganza the Albuquerque community knows and loves today.

These days, the free event starts at the UNM main campus Book Store with biscochitos at 5:45 p.m. and ends with a social hour hosted by the Office of the President complete with posole and hot cocoa. This year, families are also encouraged to bring a book to place under the tree at the Hodgin Hall Alumni building. All books will be donated to UNM Children’s Hospital. 

“I think it’s important for the people of Albuquerque to actually feel that they have a place, and that we’re all part of a larger community.”

Rudy Montoya, Student Activities.

Student Activities specialist Rudy Montoya says the event helps bridge the gap between the university, and the community at large by starting a festive conversation, singing favorite holiday carols, and enjoying New Mexico traditions.

Santa hangs the traditional wreath at the president’s house.

The school has also brought the event into the 21st century by recycling the luminarias within the community. Early Saturday morning, residents will be allowed to pick up the luminarias to use as decorations on their own homes or businesses for free. Attendees are invited to park in the Cornell parking garage or to take A.R.T. to the event.

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