Dartmouth Homecoming Folklore


Homecoming represents a tradition central to all students’ Dartmouth experience and consists of many of Dartmouth’s fundamental pieces of folklore. Many students identify homecoming as the experience that solidified their membership in the Dartmouth community, which is why we selected it for our folklore project. The people that experience homecoming represent the largest folk group at Dartmouth, as its traditions and rituals affect all members of the community. Through our folklore collection project, we were able to learn about different genres of folklore surrounding Dartmouth homecoming, such as superstitions, urban legends, and traditions.


  1. Freshman Construction of the Bonfire
  2. Freshman Sweep
  3. Town Parade
  4. Running Around the Bonfire
  5. Touching the Fire
  6. Harassing the Freshmen
  7. Rushing the Field
  8. Football Game
  9. Airlifted to Boston 
  10. Harassing Harvard Band
  11. Hair Caught on Fire
  12. Stinson Keg Transport Tradition
  13. “Worst Class Ever”
  14. Athletic Teams Running All Laps
  15. Swim Team Wearing Swimsuits
  16. Homecoming Parties
  17. Drinking Rituals
  18. One Underclassman Put In the Fire
  19. Participation in Homecoming Activities
  20. Secret Parties
  21. Homecoming Food and Clothing
  22. Engagements During Homecoming
  23. Alumni Hookup In Their Old Rooms


By collecting material, verbal, and customary folklore, we gained a deeper understanding of the folklore associated with the annual ritual of homecoming. We interviewed members of the Dartmouth community of all different backgrounds to gain a complex understanding of the various traditions and legends surrounding the celebration. We learned that the central tradition of homecoming, the bonfire, is held together by many smaller pieces of folklore. Through our project, we also discovered a lot more about the folklore of a tradition that unites Dartmouth as a close-knit community.

Names of the collectors: Kevin Cheng, Lyric Griffin, Marie Plecha, Joshua Tupler, Phillip Yom

Tags/keywords: homecoming, bonfire, freshmen, football, big weekend

Link to all release forms