Tree Lighting Ceremony at Marywood

This year's tree will boast approximately 3,200 energy-conserving LED lights. The University will consume 80% less electricity by using LED lights over traditional lights. Photo Credit: Staff

By Tyler Williamson
Staff Writer

It seems that people just get a little bit more cheerful and happier during the holiday season. Witnessing the snow flurries and festivity up until Christmas Day creates a very warm, intimate feeling. As a member of the community at a college campus, especially one as small as Marywood University creates an even more close experience. With that all said, what better way is there to kick off the holiday season here at Marywood besides being up-close with the lighting of a 20-foot Christmas tree in one of the most beautiful and distinctive locations on campus? The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has been held at Marywood University since its establishment in 1915, before the school received the accreditation to become a university. The celebration and ceremony was previously held in “the Commons” where the Motherhouse once stood before it burned down in 1971, however due to the wind and other environment factors, the location of the tree lighting was moved to the Rotunda. The Lighting Ceremony that occurs near Christmas every year near Christmastime is looked forward to by both students and faculty alike. Between the free cookies and caroling, and the magnificent tree displayed in the LAC’s Rotunda, everyone seems to have something to enjoy and get out of when it comes to this merry ceremony.

Although the commercial-side and the material possessions we cannot wait to give and receive at Christmas is exciting, sometimes the meaning and history and true story of Christmas gets lost or forgotten. There is even a lot of meaning just behind the Christmas tree itself. According to what historians have found, the Germans were the ones responsible for pioneering the idea of the Christmas tree, which goes all the way back to the 16th century. The earliest record of it all was when Martin Luther internalized what was simply a winter nighttime skyline with twinkling stars glistening between the evergreen and pine trees. Captivated by this, he went home and constructed a large evergreen tree adorned with colored lights and candles in his living room. Despite the fact that this practice was common amongst Europeans, the idea of putting up a Christmas tree did not spread to America until the 19th century when German settlers came over and settled into Pennsylvania. Even then, many Americans of the time looked at the Christmas tree as a Pagan symbol, and did not accept it as a representation for the Christmas holiday. However, in 1842, Queen Victoria and the German Prince Albert were sketched in a portrait alongside their children around a Christmas tree. Since during that time the Royal family was very popular among their subjects, the whole idea of a Christmas tree became very popular and its popularity spread to America and the idea has stuck ever since.

The Christmas tree has also been a strong religious symbol throughout history. The tree points of the triangular pine tree have been said to represent the Trinity- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “The faith brought out from people during Christmas also brings out joy, which brings the community together”, said Marywood faculty Jim Sullivan. Here at Marywood University, one of the core values is a sense of developing and having Catholic identity- or a commitment to religious or spiritual excellence. Having a spiritual connection is very important, and everyone seems to lose track of it during the stress of finals and other obligations that seem to pile up around this time of year.

Everyone deserves a little break, so do not miss out on it this year! The festivities will be held at the Rotunda on December 2 at 3:30 PM. In case you cannot make it, there are other events that you can participate in December around Christmastime. Good, old Flapjack Fest will be held here at Marywood on December 14, so be sure to stop and get something to eat. And speaking of dining, make sure to bring your younger brothers and sisters to have Breakfast with Santa on December 6. Tickets will be offered at $8 per child and $12 per adult and will grant you and your company a breakfast buffet and a chance to meet Santa himself. Whatever you choose to do, Marywood University wishes you very Happy Holidays!