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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Boston tree lighting brings community together

Bostons+82nd+tree+lighting+brings+thousands+to+the+Boston+Common+Nov.+30.
Nick Peace
Boston’s 82nd tree lighting brings thousands to the Boston Common Nov. 30.

The City of Boston hosted its 82nd annual tree lighting event in the Boston Common, bringing crowds of people together to kick off the holiday season. 

It also marks the 52nd year that the province of Nova Scotia has given the city a tree to mark the holiday season. This year, the tree was a 45-foot-tall white spruce.

While the celebration featured the usual sweet treats and vendors, protesters condemning the war between Israel and Hamas and the subsequent humanitarian crisis in Palestine also marched throughout the Common.

Before the tree lighting began, a large crowd formed around the Boston Common Frog Pond as it hosted its annual “Skating Spectacular,” which had several professional and competitive ice skating teams’ skaters put on a show for the people waiting for the tree lighting to begin. 

There were several stands handing out free accessories and snacks, such as Xfinity giving out blue antlers, a stand from LEGO that had a LEGO pit for kids to build in, representatives for Downtown Boston handing out gloves and a Drake’s Cakes mascot handing out Devil Dogs.

The live show included Maroon 5’s PJ Morton, the cast of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” the Spectrum of Sound choir, Nova Scotia’s COIG and Owen “O’Sound” Lee. 

“They go to this every year,” said Patty Chenevert, a woman from Wakefield who joined four other women for her first year at the tree lighting. “They’ve been doing this every year for the last 14 years. Even throughout the pandemic they came. It’s one of the nights we actually get to see each other.”

During the event, protesters marched through the crowd, some of whom were holding up signs that read “Boston Stands With Palestine,” “End the 75-year occupation + Genocide” and “Stand with Palestinian People’s Resistance.”

Throughout the protest they also chanted sayings like “We will free Palestine” and “We want justice you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” 

Among the protesters were Suffolk University students, including one of many protest organizers, Hana Wallen, who works with the Boston Coalition for Palestine.

“This genocide has been going on for longer than just October 7, there’s more history to it,” said Wallen. 

Many people in the crowd were stating that this was not a place for this protest to happen. 

However, to Wallen, the continued violence in Palestine and against Arab Americans means consistent demonstrations are necessary.

“This protest has to happen now because of what’s happening around us, like with the three Palestinian students being shot in Vermont. …it’s not a time to celebrate,” said Wallen.

Maielise Lord, a student at Suffolk and one of the volunteer marshals protecting the crowd of protesters, said celebrations seem trivial in light of the war.

“We can’t celebrate the tree lighting when there’s a genocide going on killing thousands of innocent people,” said Lord.

While the protest continued for the entirety of the event, Boston’s officials and special guests carried on. Alongside Jennifer Hudson and Santa was the Premier of Nova Scotia Tim Houston and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who thanked Houston and the Province of Nova Scotia for the tree.

With one final song, Hudson led the crowd in singing the classic holiday tune “Jingle Bells.”

With the end of the last song came the time for the tree lighting, pyrotechnics were fired into the skies next to the tree, confetti was shot into the air over the crowds and all the lights on the tree lit up alongside several other trees down the Common.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Yanes, Staff Writer | he/him
Josh is a senior Journalism and Communications major with a politics minor. He was born and raised in East Boston and has had a passion for the news since he was 8-years-old, watching and discussing the news to his single-mother of six kids. He has a strong passion for his Latinx background and wants to be as involved as possible with culture here at Suffolk.

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