Hamline News

Holiday Traditions at Hamline


By Corey Jolma '18

Each December, Hamline celebrates its rich diversity through different religious and spiritual traditions. While the university was founded with connections to the Methodist Church, it also recognizes and values traditions that reflect the entire community. Every year, students and faculty alike join together in celebrating the many holiday traditions through events around campus.

One of the most enduring traditions is the Tree Lighting Ceremony in which the Hamline community, including the president, joins together to sing winter songs, enjoy treats, and celebrate the holidays. The event also reflects Hamline’s values of being champions of social justice and positive change. Under the tree, a sign reads “This tree stands as a symbol for community, hope, peace, and giving. Let the lights shine brightly for and upon us all.” Along with this, two boxes are also placed near the tree for donations.

“In the spirit of the shared value of generosity, the Wesley Center is sponsoring two gifting boxes near the tree--one for donations of nonperishable food for the campus’ Feed Your Brain Campaign, and one for hygiene products for Puerto Rico,” said Zan Christ, coordinator for religious and spiritual life programs for the Wesley Center.

Hamline is partnering with Twin Cities organization Coalicion de Boricuas en Minnesota which is helping with relief and donation efforts in Puerto Rico following the Hurricane Maria this fall. The Feed Your Brain Campaign, led by Hamline students, was created to increase awareness of food insecurity on college campuses and to provide various resources that help students meet their needs.

As well as the annual tree lighting event, students and faculty could attend events like the Kwanzaa Celebration, Hanukkah Shabbat Dinner, or the Interfaith Holiday Fair to learn about those holidays through displays created by student organizations. There are also many musical performances to celebrate the holidays, such as the annual A Cappella Choir Christmas concert at Hamline Church United Methodist and the winter orchestra concert.

“Hamline University is both United Methodist and multi-faith in terms of being a private college today,” said Hamline Chaplin Nancy Victorin-Vangerud. “I look forward to new ways to celebrate diverse religious traditions throughout the year as we aim to be an exemplar in diversity.”