7 of the strangest uni traditions in the world
Making primary school children pick up hot pennies, dropping a piano off a college roof, and stripping - we explore the 7 strangest university traditions.
As much as we're a fan of university traditions (we particularly like the one about all students having to sleep until lunchtime), this lot are just a little bit too weird, even for us...
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St Andrews - Raisin Weekend
St Andrews in Scotland has a ‘Raisin Weekend’ which apparently celebrates friendship in the form of throwing beans and foam all over freshers every November.
The third year students become mothers and fathers of the university’s new recruits. The mother holds a 'Raisin Tea Party' where she gives her 'child' a raisin string (just go with it).
The fathers give their freshers a ‘receipt’ item for the bottle of wine given to them by their offspring (just keep going with it...) - this is something that each student has to carry around with them during the foam fight, in the past it's ranged from a bath tub to a canoe.
Oh - The mother also dresses her child up for the fight in a fancy dress outfit that she's chosen, just in case there was any danger of not looking stupid enough.
The student union is reportedly transformed into a mini-hospital - great news for the already on-edge and tortured newbies. See the photo above for a glimpse of the mayhem.
Worcester College, Oxford - Half-naked half-hour
If only every university had a ‘Half-naked half-hour' like Worcester College in Oxford. Now banned and deemed by staff as ‘inappropriate’, students in the college library would remove items of clothing during the hours of 3-4pm every Wednesday. A fantastic way to spice up revision, perhaps, but apparently not what you want when visiting heads of state are taking a tour of the campus...
Lincoln & Brasnose Colleges, Oxford - Ascension Day
Another Oxford University tradition favourite is Ascension Day that takes place between Lincoln and Brasenose College every year. Lincoln serves Brasenose members poisoned beer (is that legal?!) as an apology for supposedly shutting out one of their members back in the day and accidentally killing them in the process.
Poisoned beer doesn’t sound like an apology to us, and nor does throwing heated pennies to primary school children in a bid to warn Brasenose members about greed.
NB: No children were harmed during the writing of this article.
Yale - Pipe-smoking graduates
For America’s Yale University, it is tradition for students to smoke tobacco out of clay pipes during graduation, before crushing them underfoot as a sign that the pleasures of college life have come to an end. We’re not sure that the Health Standards Agency would approve of this in the UK but we’ll give credit to Yale for having a mid-speech fag break. Graduation ceremonies are long.
MIT - Drop Date
In true US form, residents of MIT’s Baker House take tradition to a whole new (and quite frankly, dangerous) level. Students drop a piano off the roof of their dormitory to celebrate Drop Date, the last day a student can drop classes at the Institute. Rebels, the lot of them. Watch the video below.
University of Chicago - Scavenger hunt
The University of Chicago runs 'the largest scavenger hunt in the world' each year. Doesn't sound that exciting, right? Well this is no ordinary scavenger hunt. Over the years the list has included things like 'get circumcised' and even 'build a working nuclear reactor'. Believe it or not two physics students actually managed to pull off the latter in a garden shed!
Merton College, Oxford - Time Ceremony
OK, this is just getting silly. Oxford have cropped up in the list for a third (and hopefully final) time thanks to Merton College's 'Time Ceremony'. In the very early hours of the last Sunday in October Merton's students walk backwards around the Fellows' Quad drinking port. Why? To maintain the space-time continuum during the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Meantime, obviously.
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