‘Wreath drop’ rings in a new church year


A lit Christmas wreath slides down a rope in front of Bobet Hall to ring in a new liturgical year. The Advent Wreath Drop is a longstanding Loyola tradition. Photo credit: Colleen Dulle

Robert Laurent

As the holidays approach, Loyola University New Orleans celebrated the beginning of the Catholic season of Advent with a university tradition.

The annual wreath drop ceremony was held on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8:30 p.m. Students were encouraged to attend the ceremony, which featured cookies, hot chocolate and apple cider.

The wreath drop ceremony celebrates the beginning of a new liturgical year and is reminiscent of the glass ball that drops in New York on New Year’s Eve.

During the event, a cord is hung between Bobet Hall and the West Road parking garage, and a lit Christmas wreath is sent sliding down to hang in front of Bobet.

For Catholics, Advent is the start of the liturgical year and the time of year that leads up to Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus.

The season celebrates waiting for the coming of Christ, commemorating both the Jews in the Old Testament waiting for the coming of the Messiah for thousands of years and Catholics who await the second coming of Jesus.

Traditionally, Catholics celebrate Advent by making wreaths. These wreaths have four candles that represent the four weeks of Advent, three purple and one pink. The purple candles represent the first, second and fourth weeks, while the pink represents the third week. Each week, an additional candle is lit as it gets closer to Christmas.

The wreath drop ceremony is hosted by Ken Weber, university minister for liturgy and music. He identified Advent as a joyful season.

“My favorite part of the celebration is having a bunch of people come together in a festive community for a season we don’t usually celebrate, when leading up to Christmas,” Weber said.