Tag Archives: homecoming

Harassing The Freshman At The Bonfire

Title: Harassing The Freshman At The Bonfire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • The informant was a male Sophomore at Dartmouth who has experienced the bonfire two times.  He has experienced it both as a freshman and as an upperclassman, which are two vastly different experiences.

Contextual Data:

  • As already collected, there is an annual ritual at Dartmouth for freshmen to run laps around the homecoming fire.  This practice is encouraged and is widely participated in.  The upperclassmen, though, also have a role in this ritual.  Most upperclassmen, at least during their sophomore year, revel for this opportunity to be on the other side of this ritual.  Enthusiasm seems to die out as the students grow older.

Item:

  • “During the ritual of the freshmen running around the fire, the upperclassmen gather around the barriers and attempt to confuse and harass the freshmen.  They try to confuse them by yelling things such as “Touch the fire!” or “You’re running in the wrong direction!”.  Some upperclassmen even participate in the running while harassing the freshman.  Apparently, back in the day, the harassing was much worse.  It has become tamer and laid back since then.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant said that he really enjoyed the tradition of running around the fire as a Freshman and was looking forward to being on the other side of it.  Surprisingly, though, he said it wasn’t really as fun as he anticipated and actually left before the end of the running.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I agree with the informant’s opinion.  The fire is a much bigger deal and much more fun as a Freshman.  I think it gets less interesting as you get older at Dartmouth, but I think the tradition remains because upperclassmen feel some sort of obligation to attend.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, tradition, homecoming, freshman

Touching The Homecoming Fire

Title: Touching The Homecoming Fire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • The informant was an anonymous male Dartmouth Junior who has actually participated in this ritual. Age: 20.  He is one of the very few people on campus that participated in the ritual during their freshman year.

Contextual Data:

  • As already collected, there is an annual ritual at Dartmouth for freshmen to run laps around the homecoming fire.  This practice is encouraged and is widely participated in.  This ritual, though, is rare and does not happen often.  Maybe 1 or 2 freshmen a year participate in it.  It is not necessarily encouraged, but more so accepted.  It is encouraged somewhat throughout the freshman class alone in an attempt to have a member participate in it.  But, the administration and security take steps to attempt to discourage this ritual greatly.

Item:

  • “Every year before the homecoming fire, upperclassmen constantly tell the freshmen to touch the fire.  They claim that somebody has done it every year.  They attempt to scare the freshmen by telling them that they will be the ‘worst class ever’ if nobody does it.  Obviously, nobody wants to be the worst class ever.  So it ends up happening every year as 1 or 2 people end up taking it into their own hands to touch the fire.  Touching the fire usually ends up in some sort of arrest or punishment, since you have to dodge SNS and Hanover Police officers to even get close to the fire.  But it’s always worth it because you can always say that you’re the one that touched the fire.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant was actually arrested for doing this.  He says he does not regret participating in this ritual.  In fact, he was proud of it.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found it interesting that people actually get arrested for this.  It seems also that they know that is a possibility going into it.  For a tradition with such harsh punishment, it is surprising that it has lived on.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, tradition, homecoming, freshman

Running Laps Around the Homecoming Fire

Title: Running Laps Around the Homecoming Fire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • Anonymous Male Dartmouth student in the Class of 2020.  Age: 19.  He is a part of the grade that just participated in this ritual within the past month.

Contextual Data:

  • Annual ritual at Homecoming that all Dartmouth Freshmen are encouraged to participate in.  The origins of this ritual are uncertain.  An experience that is almost a rite of passage for a Dartmouth student.  This is sort of seen as the last transition into becoming a full member of the Dartmouth community.  The ritual takes place at the location of the Bonfire, which is a Dartmouth tradition to build every year on the Green, which is the large open field in the center of town.

Item:

  • “Every year at the Homecoming fire, there is a circular section cordoned off for Dartmouth freshmen to run laps around the fire.  Tradition says that students are supposed to run 100 laps plus whatever their class year is.  For example, the class of 2020 should theoretically run 120 laps.  Overtime, this tradition has evolved into running as many laps as your class year.  So instead of 120, the class of 2020 would run only 20 laps.  Upperclassmen and Alumni are congregated around the fire outside of the cordoned off area while yelling and cheering the freshmen on.  This tradition is open to anyone, but it is primarily practiced by only freshmen.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • He was interested in knowing the origins and evolutions of the tradition.  He felt that it was interesting that the history of the tradition is never really explained to the Freshmen, they are just expected to participate in the tradition because every one else does.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Informant brought up a very intriguing point regarding the unknown history surrounding this tradition.  As a Dartmouth Senior, I couldn’t even lead him in a direction to find out that history.  It’s interesting that for such a common, well known, and heavily participated in tradition that no one really knows the origins behind it.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition, Freshmen, Homecoming

Stinson Keg Transport Tradition

Title: Stinson Keg Transport Tradition

Informant info: Jack Stinson was born and raised in Hanover, NH. He runs his family’s beer store Stinson’s Village.

Type of lore: Customary, tradition

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Jack Stinson was interviewed inside his store.  He has experienced the revelries associated with Homecoming for the last few decades.

Item: There used to be a tradition of hiring football and hockey players to transport kegs for Jack during homecoming weekend. Jack would pay these athletes, and they would bring the heavy kegs to the Greek houses for their parties during homecoming. This tradition ended with new college restrictions on kegs.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript (if verbal lore): N/A

Informant’s comments: Jack also recounted how the evolution of kegs to cans has occurred at Dartmouth. He told us about how the rate of alcohol consumption on campus has dropped with the evolution of cans.

Collector’s comments: The informant seems to remember the story very fondly.

Tags/Keywords: homecoming, kegs, drinking, stinsons

Swim Team Wearing Swimsuits

Title: Swim Team Wearing Swimsuits

Informant info: Cody Pennypacker is a member of the Class of 2018 at Dartmouth college. He is a Biology major.

Type of lore: customary, Genre: ritual

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Homecoming is a major events not just to students, but to athletic teams as well.

Item: The swim team freshmen will run around the bonfire in just their swimsuits.

Associated file: See interview file

Transcript: (Beginning is somewhat garbled) -There was a kid who thought it was a good idea to have like, a handle of vodka on him when he touched the fire. Also…(pause), yeah, so apparently, uhm, I’m not on either of the teams, but uh, when the freshmen run the laps around the fire…uh, apparently the swim team has to run in their swim suits the whole way, and the track team runs all the laps that they have to do (garbled)…2018, so 118 laps around the fire, which comes out to be a lot of miles around this hot burning campfire in the middle of the night.

Informant’s comments: This is somewhat of an initiation for the members of this team. Everyone has done it and so they must do it.

Collector’s comments: We believe other teams require similar tasks.

Tags/Keywords: Swim team, Swim suits, bonfire, homecoming

Initiation, Laps, Homecoming, Bonfire,

 

Harassing the Harvard Band

Title: Harassing the Harvard Band

Informant info: Keaton Renta is a current member of the class of 2016. He is 21 years old and from South California.

Type of lore: Urban legend

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Keaton Renta was interviewed inside his room.  He has experienced football game four times (once each of his years in college Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior), and heard about the gille suit-band incident from friends.

Item: Each year, during homecoming there is a football game. It is a tradition at half time for freshmen to hop the banister and rush the field during half time. Usually, the freshmen just run across the field. However, there are stories about how some students took the tradition further one year. They dressed up in a sniper’s gille suit and proceeded to harass the Harvard band attempting to play their half time show.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Informant’s comments: The informant described the legend from the perspective that he heard from his friends.

Collector’s comments: The informant seem to remember the story very fondly.

Tags/Keywords: homecoming, football, football game, marching band

 

Athletic Teams Running All Laps

Title: Athletic Teams Running All Laps

Informant info: Cody Pennypacker is a member of the Class of 2018 at Dartmouth college. He is a Biology major.

Type of lore: customary, Genre: ritual

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Homecoming is a major events not just to students, but to athletic teams as well.

Item: Certain teams at Dartmouth require the freshmen on the team to run the total 100 + their class year laps around the bonfire. They will often do this together as a team.

Associated file: See interview file

Transcript: (Beginning is somewhat garbled) -There was a kid who thought it was a good idea to have like, a handle of vodka on him when he touched the fire. Also…(pause), yeah, so apparently, uhm, I’m not on either of the teams, but uh, when the freshmen run the laps around the fire…the track team runs all the laps that they have to do (garbled)…2018, so 118 laps around the fire, which comes out to be a lot of miles around this hot burning campfire in the middle of the night.

Informant’s comments: This is somewhat of an initiation for the members of this team. Everyone has done it and so they must do it.

Collector’s comments: Cody seemed bemused when he described this event to me.

Tags/Keywords: Laps, Homecoming, Bonfire, Athletic teams

Rushing the Field

Title: Rushing the Field

Informant info: Charles Cai is a current member of the class of 2016. He is 21 years old and from Princeton, NJ.

Type of lore: Customary, traditional

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Charles was interviewed outside his dorm. He has experienced the football game four times (once each of his years in college Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).

Item: Each year, during homecoming there is a football game. It is a tradition at half time for freshmen to hop the banister and run across the field during half time. Previously, only a few freshmen would rush the field since it would typically involve evading security. However, security generally allows the tradition currently.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript (if verbal lore): N/A

Informant’s comments: Informant has rushed the field his freshmen year and watched subsequent classes also rush the field.

Collector’s comments: Rushing the field was an important and bonding experience for his freshmen friends. Rushing the field was previously a bigger deal than it currently is as security now allows freshmen to rush the field unmolested.

Tags/Keywords: homecoming, football, football game, rushing the field

Homecoming Parties

Title: Homecoming Parties

Informant info: Courtney Ligh is a current member of the class of 2016. She is 21 years old and from New York, NY.

Type of lore: Customary, traditional, celebrations

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context: Courtney was interviewed in her dorm. She has experienced the bonfire three times (once her freshman year and twice her junior/senior years).

Item: Each year, during homecoming weekend, different Greek houses will throw the same parties. For example, Sigma Phi Epsilon throws “pop punk” party every year the Thursday before homecoming. This party consists of playing only pop punk genre music and dancing in their basement. Kappa Delta Epsilon will also throw “tackiez” party every year the Wednesday before homecoming. This party consists of dressing in tacky clothes.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Transcript (if verbal lore): N/A

Informant’s comments: Informant has gone to each pop punk party every homecoming she has been here. It is typically very full of people every time.

Collector’s comments: These parties are thrown every year on homecoming, but are sometimes also thrown on other occasions.

Tags/Keywords: homecoming, parties, greek houses

Hair Caught on Fire Story

Title: Hair caught on fire

Informant info: Fred Kim is a member of the Class of 2017. He was born in South Korea but has lived in Seattle for most of his teenage years. He plays the flute and is very involved in music in Dartmouth. He is a member of the Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity for men. He has participated in Homecoming three times, one for each of his years at Dartmouth.

Type of lore: Urban Legend

Language: English

Country of Origin: US

Social/cultural context: Fred was interviewed in one-on-one situation and he was recorded. He has participated in the bonfire and remembers hearing of several stories about the bonfire.

Item: There is an urban legend that a girl running around the bonfire a few years ago had her hair catch on fire even though she was not that close to the fire.

Associated file: Interview audio

Transcript:

Interviewer: Fred, do you know any stories, legends, myths about Homecoming?

Fred: Yeah, um, a couple of years ago, I heard that there was a girl that was running around the bonfire and even though she wasn’t that close to the fire, her hair caught on fire. I don’t know what happened after though.

Informant’s comments: None

Collector’s comments: Fred could not remember much about Homecoming because he was not prepared to be asked such questions. Also, he was not very talkative and only spoke for a short period of time before asking to leave.

Tags/Keywords: bonfire, Homecoming, fire, hair