Hanging of the greens

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Items such as the Chrismon/Christmas Tree and Advent Wreath are placed in the church during the hanging of the greens ceremony

The hanging of the greens is a Western Christian ceremony in which many congregations and people adorn their churches, as well as other buildings (such as a YWCA or university), with Advent and Christmas decorations.[1][2][3] This is done on or directly before the start of the Advent season, in preparation for Christmastide.[4] The service involves the placement of evergreen vegetation in the parish.[5] Items such as the evergreen wreath, in Christianity, carry the religious symbolism of everlasting life, a theological concept within that faith.[5][6][7] As such, during the liturgy, "Biblical passages and other readings help explain the significance of the holly, the cedar, the Advent wreath, the Chrismon tree, and any other special decorations".[8][9]

Outside of a formal liturgy, in many countries, such as Sweden, people start to set up their Advent and Christmas decorations on the first day of Advent.[10][11] In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days when Christmas decorations are removed are Twelfth Night, and if they are not taken down on that day, Candlemas, the latter of which ends the Christmas-Epiphany season in some denominations.[12] Leaving the decorations up beyond Candlemas is historically considered to be inauspicious.[13]

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  1. ^ Dixon, Sandy (30 October 2013). Everlasting Light: A Resource for Advent Worship. Chalice Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780827208377. Many congregations decorate the sanctuary for the Advent season in a service called Hanging of the Greens. 
  2. ^ Christmas Greetings. The YWCA Magazine: National Magazine for the Young Women's Christian Association of the United States of America, Volumes 57-58. 1963. p. 12. The Hanging of the Greens as an Association program probably first took place in the ywca between 1920 and 1924. 
  3. ^ Ellis, William E. (5 February 2015). A History of Eastern Kentucky University. University Press of Kentucky. p. 85. ISBN 9780813159607. The Hanging of the Greens became an annual Christmas event beginning in 1930, as did the presentation of Handel's Messiah. Departmental clubs and those based on students' region of origin had large memberships and attendance. Moreover, the administration encouraged students to attend church, and a few "chapel" programs each year were given over to religion. 
  4. ^ Dixon, Sandy (30 October 2013). Everlasting Light: A Resource for Advent Worship. Chalice Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780827208377. In the Hanging of the Greens, we share with Christians through the ages the memory and anticipation of Christ's coming. We festively decorate our church with symbols of life, joy, and hope. 
  5. ^ a b Wren, Brian A. (2008). Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780664233099. The Hanging of the Greens--An Act of Worship for the Beginning of Advent: This intergenerational liturgy places symbolic pieces of evergreen vegetation prominently in the worship space to celebrate God's incarnate love, touched and seen in Jesus of Nazareth. 
  6. ^ Cook, David C. (2006). The Inspirational Christmas Almanac. Honor Books. p. 88. ISBN 9781562927431. From the earliest days of Christianity, the evergreen wreath has always been an emblem of eternal life and God's faithfulness to all humanity. Holly, with its green leaves, its prickly points, and its red berries, suggested that the Child born in the manger would wear a crown of thorns and shed drops of blood. Mistletoe, long associated in the pre-Christian world with healing, became a symbol of the healing power of Christ. 
  7. ^ Geddes, Gordon; Griffiths, Jane (2002). Christian Belief and Practice. Heinemann. p. 97. ISBN 9780435306915. The wreath's circle reminds Christians of God's endless love and mercy. The evergreen leaves represent the hope of eternal life brought by Jesus Christ. The candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus Christ. 
  8. ^ Weaver Jr., J. Dudley (2002). Presbyterian Worship: A Guide for Clergy. Geneva Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780664502188. Biblical passages and other readings help explain the significance of the holly, the cedar, the Advent wreath, the Chrismon tree, and any other special decorations. The Chrismon tree may be lighted for the first time during the service. ... The United Methodist Book of Worship contains a service for the hanging of the greens which, with some minor modifications, works very well in a Presbyterian congregation. 
  9. ^ Weaver Jr., J. Dudley (2002). Presbyterian Worship: A Guide for Clergy. Geneva Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780664502188. Most Presbyterian churches are decorated, to one degree or another, for the season at least a couple of weeks in advance of Christmas. A Service that is helpful in giving some meaning to the decorations that adorn our places of worship, as well as providing an excuse to sing Christmas carols at least once during the course of Advent, is a service for the hanging of the greens. 
  10. ^ Michelin (10 October 2012). Germany Green Guide Michelin 2012-2013. Michelin. p. 73. ISBN 9782067182110. Advent - The four weeks before Christmas are celebrated by counting down the days with an advent calendar, hanging up Christmas decorations and lightning an additional candle every Sunday on the four-candle advent wreath. 
  11. ^ Normark, Helena (1997). "Modern Christmas". Graphic Garden. Christmas in Sweden starts with Advent, which is the await for the arrival of Jesus. The symbol for it is the Advent candlestick with four candles in it, and we light one more candle for each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Most people start putting up the Christmas decorations on the first of Advent. 
  12. ^ "Candlemas". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 December 2015. Any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night (January 5th) should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down. 
  13. ^ Raedisch, Linda (1 October 2013). The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year. Llewellyn Publications. p. 161. ISBN 9780738734507. 

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