Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lighting the holidays

The Circle is lit and cookies and hot cocoa await. (2013)
IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS on our two beautiful campi. With the end of the semester looming, there won't be time later to create and enjoy the holiday environment, so even as we're looking forward next week to turkey and pumpkin pie, the Associated Student Body is putting the finishing touches on Christmas wonderland at Chalon and Doheny.

Circle fountain in ribbons and bows.
Tonight is the traditional Lighting of the Circle at Chalon. Everything from the hedges to the fountain is festooned with little white lights, ribbons and ornaments, ready for the the Flipping of the Switch at 6 p.m. sharp. (Our heroic electrician Haig Papelian has been wiring up for days.) The Campus Ministry Band will be accompanying carols, Santa Claus will put in an appearance, and ASB will be ready with hot chocolate and cookies.

Over at Doheny, the celebration is tomorrow, with more cocoa and cookies and a Christmas-themed photo booth. Theannual Christmas Magic at the Mansion will be celebrated after Thanksgiving, a party for all the staff and faculty of MSMU. The already amazing Doheny Mansion is even more exquisite in its Christmas finery. Here's a preview.

Doheny Mansion at sunset with Christmas lights aglow.
We recently unearthed a Christmas tradition from yesteryear at MSMU. There's an undated, un-labeled photo of students in pajamas, bathrobes and topcoats trooping down the Grand Staircase at Chalon. They're carrying candles and everyone's mouth is open. From there we got as far as guessing "Christmas caroling," but didn't know the context until we tripped over it in the 1960 yearbook.

Mystery photo at last explained. 
The caption explained what was going on.
 Warmly dressed and lighted candles in hand, the resident students begin their traditional custom of Christmas caroling to the Sisters. The girls walk from the Mount campus down to the House of Studies [now Carondelet Center], where they exchange songs with novices and postulants. Hot chocolate and doughnuts are served when they return.
(Those CSJ novices and postulants would be about the same age as the Mount students, and some of them might even be classmates and friends.)

Here's to  90 years of Christmas traditions at Mount Saint Mary's University. May these coming hectic days of shopping, cooking, and preparation all be merry and bright.  

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