Tag Archives: Initiation Ritual

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Dartmouth Housing System Initiation

Title: Dartmouth Housing System Initiation

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College
  • Informant: Trevor Ballantyne
  • Date Collected: November 1, 2018

 

Informant Data

  • Trevor Ballantyne is a close friend of mine who was born on March 31st, 1999. Trevor attended elementary school in Hopkinton, Massachusetts where he grew up and he then attended Rivers Academy for high school. After graduation, Trevor matriculated to Dartmouth College where he is currently a sophomore. Trevor is involved in a fraternity on campus, and he is on the Dartmouth Varsity Lacrosse team.

 

Contextual Data

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Trevor in the Collis Café at Dartmouth College. Trevor was first introduced to the housing community when he arrived on campus for freshman orientation. Trevor was surrounded by all incoming freshman who were all going to their specific housing communities at the time. After that, Trevor was first introduced into South House when he attended a South House dinner at a professor’s house who was affiliated with South House. During this, Trevor was surrounded by all of the other members in South House, including me. The process of being initiated into a housing community always occurs during freshman orientation
  • Social Context: Trevor is a first-generation Dartmouth student who planned on being affiliated with a fraternity from freshman year. Before Dartmouth, Trevor was unaware of the housing system and did not expect the housing system to have an effect on his time at Dartmouth. This initiation occurs during freshman orientation which involves a countless number of activities and traditions that allow students to bond with other members of their class

 

Item

  • As Trevor arrived on campus during freshman orientation, he was first initiated and welcomed onto campus by fellow South House members excitedly cheering for their house. Trevor went to the South House desk and was given a black South House shirt and water bottle. Trevor felt this initiation ritual to be welcoming due to the hectic nature of the day as all freshman arrived on campus. Days later, Trevor was further initiated into the South House community when he attended a South House dinner at a professor’s house. Trevor ate food, met fellow South House members, and signed a book that all South House members signed. Trevor was especially grateful for this initiation ritual because he was able to meet other freshman in South House and start relationships with kids that he would one day possibly live with.

 

Analysis

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. For the South House dinner initiation, the separation stage occurs when South House members leave campus and the rest of the student population and go to a house with only South House members. The transition stage occurs when students enjoy food and meet their fellow South House members. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when students sign the South House book and officially join South House.

 

Meaning and Interpretation

  • Every Dartmouth student is a member of a specific housing community. Many students feel a strong sense of pride regarding their house, and the initiation ritual into South House acts as the first way for students to officially join South House.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Transcript

  • Trevor Ballantyne on the South House initiation dinner, “It was a good way to meet everyone and there is a huge book that you sign your name, say you were there, everyone from the house does it and you can tell it’s the foundation of a tradition that’s going to go on for a long time.”

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

 

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Housing System
  • Freshman
  • Orientation
  • South House
  • Initiation Ritual

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Dimensions Initiation Rituals

Title: Dimensions Initiation Rituals

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College Club
  • Informant: Ian Harris
  • Date Collected: October 31, 2018

 

Informant Data

 

  • Ian Harris is my good friend who I first met freshman year of high school in 2013. Ian was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 28th, 1999 and has lived in Boston with his family ever since. Ian attended the Noble and Greenough School from grade 7 to 12 and he is currently a sophomore at Dartmouth College. Ian plans to major in economics. Ian’s father also attended Dartmouth College, but he was not in the club Dimensions.

 

Contextual Data

 

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Ian in his dorm room at Dartmouth College. Ian was first introduced to Dimensions as a senior in high school when he attended a Dimensions event in Boston to welcome the incoming Dartmouth students into the Dartmouth community. This Dimensions event occurs every year in Boston and is attended by incoming Dartmouth students. At this event, those that participated were the incoming Dartmouth students and the current Dartmouth students in Dimensions who perform different dances and songs. After Ian discussed his experience with Dimensions as a senior in high school, Ian then elaborated on the initiation rituals for Dartmouth students joining the club. Ian originally learned of these rituals by participating in the initiation process of Dimensions after being accepted into the club. Ian was surrounded by the upperclassmen in Dimensions and the other new members of Dimensions while they participated in a hike to a cabin.
  • Social Context: I collected this initiation ritual from Ian Harris, a current member of Dimensions. Ian is not the first person in his family to attend Dartmouth, but he is the first person in his family to be in Dimensions at Dartmouth.

 

Item

  • As a senior in high school, Ian was initiated into the community of Dartmouth College by attending the Dimensions event and watching the various dances that were performed by the Dartmouth students in Dimensions. Ian felt more welcomed and initiated into the community after talking with different students in Dimensions, who attempted their best to initiate Ian into Dartmouth. Then, after joining Dimensions, Ian was initiated into the club Dimensions by participating in an annual hike. Ian and the members of Dimensions all hiked to a cabin in the woods and were then initiated into the club with a dinner at the cabin.

Analysis:

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. In the first initiation ritual that Ian participated in, separation occurs when Ian leaves his high school community and goes to the Dimensions event in Boston. The transition period occurs when Ian watches the various dances and performances put on by Dimensions and is welcomed into the Dartmouth community. The incorporation stage then occurs after the performances when Ian is able to speak with current members of Dimensions and meet his fellow classmates. Regarding the initiation ritual that Ian experiences as a member of Dimensions, separation occurs when Ian and the other members of Dimensions leave the Dartmouth campus to embark on the hike. Then, the transition period happens when Ian hikes to the cabin where the initiation dinner is held. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when Ian eats dinner at the cabin with all of the Dimensions members and is officially initiated into the club.

 

Meaning and Interpretation:

  • Dimensions is an extremely important club on campus and being initiated into the club is a great way to bring the members of the club closer together. As a senior in high school, the Dimensions performance to initiate incoming students to Dartmouth acts as a way to welcome incoming students and allow them to meet current students and fellow incoming freshman.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Transcript

  • Ian Harris on the tradition of the initiation ritual into Dimensions, “That’s a tradition. The upperclassmen that went with us did that too. They’ve been doing this for as long as Dimensions has been around which is really cool because you have the same experience as older kids.

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

 

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Dartmouth Clubs
  • Freshman
  • Initiation Ritual

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Candle Light Ceremony

Title: Candle Light Ceremony

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College
  • Informant: Arvin Kumaran
  • Date Collected: October 31, 2018

 

Informant Data

  • Arvin Kumaran was born in Westwood, Massachusetts on July 28th, 1999. Arvin attended middle school and high school in Westwood and is now in his second year at Dartmouth College. Arvin is on the pre-med track at Dartmouth College and is planning on majoring in Economics. Arvin is a close friend of mine who I met the fall of my freshman year at the college.

 

Contextual Data

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Arvin in his dorm room at Dartmouth College. Arvin was first introduced to Dartmouth’s candle light ceremony during orientation. Arvin was surrounded by all of his fellow classmates during the ceremony in the woods surrounding the East Wheelock dormitory. The ceremony took place as the sun went down and this ceremony occurs every year with Dartmouth’s freshman class in the same place.
  • Social Context: The candle light ceremony occurs during freshman orientation week. Orientation week involves a countless number of activities and traditions that allow students to bond with other members of their class.

 

Item

  • Every year Dartmouth freshman all gather in the woods outside of East Wheelock dormitory where they first listen to a member of their class talk about what Dartmouth values. After that, each student is given a lit candle and walks in a group towards Dartmouth campus. Every Dartmouth freshman participates in this ceremony and it really acts as the first initiation ritual while at the college.

Analysis

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. In this ritual, the separation stage occurs when the students leave the main campus and go to the woods outside of East Wheelock. Next, the transition stage happens when all the students are gathered in the woods listening to a member of their class speak. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when all the students receive a candle and collectively walk back to campus.

 

Meaning and Interpretation

  • The candle light ceremony is a ritual that occurs each year during freshman orientation. The ritual acts as a way for students to be initiated into the Dartmouth community while also allowing students to meet their fellow classmates. The candle light ceremony is many Dartmouth students first memories on campus and the image of thousands of lit candles resonates with the entire student population.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

 

Transcript

  • Arvin Kumaran on how the candle light ceremony acted as an initiation ritual, “This was our first bonding experience and it is probably one of the few events where we’d all be at the same place at the same time.”

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Freshman class
  • Orientation
  • Initiation Ritual

Initiation Rituals of Music Groups at Dartmouth College – The Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble

Title: Initiation Rituals of Music Groups at Dartmouth College – The Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble

General Information about Item:
Genre: Initiation Ritual
Language: English
Country of Origin: USA
Informant: Mike Wu, Male, 19 years old
Place Collected: Dartmouth College, Hop
Date Collected: 10-20-2018

Informant Data:
Mike Wu was born in Tallahassee, FL and raised in Bardonia, New York. He is a sophomore at Dartmouth College and has been playing the saxophone for 11 years. On campus, he was a member of the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble. Mike joined the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble his freshmen year because he wanted to keep playing the saxophone in college in a group setting.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: I collected this folklore from Mike Wu, a sophomore at Dartmouth College. He is a close friend of mine, and the only person I know who performed in DCWE. I asked him about initiation rituals in DCWE. Mike told me how he learned about the DCWE initiation ritual after experiencing it for the first time freshmen. The initiation rituals involve the conductor, upperclassmen of DCWE, and the newly accepted members. The initiation ritual helps the new members feel incorporated into the group faster.
Cultural Context: The Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble (DCWE) is an auditioned musical group of 45 members, performing a variety of music from different wind ensemble repertoire to all who welcome it. The initiation rituals of the DCWE is important because members of specific sections of the DCWE get to meet each other for the first time and build a support network for the rest of the year. New members will know who to rely on or receive advice when practicing for performances because the upperclassmen that they meet during initiation rituals play similar instruments.

Item:
Mike had to attend a standard audition where he plays a piece and the conductor judged his skills. When Mike got in, his conductor emailed him a few days later. Most freshmen did not know what “wake-up” were and were not expecting it a week after auditions. Since Mike got into the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble, upperclassmen in the Wind Ensemble made him a poster to hang on his dorm’s door and woke him up. They separated Mike and the new members from the rest of the students at Dartmouth by gathering all the new members early in the morning before others wake up and forcing them to leave their dorms. After gathering all the members, they went to get Lou’s and got to know each other. This is the transition phase of the initiation ritual. The new members remained in their PJs. After getting Lou’s, new members went back to their dorm and resumed a normal day. Mike has officially been incorporated into the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble.

Associated file:

Informant’s Comments:
According to Mike, the Initiation Ritual’s wakeup is a “wholesome experience”, where new members in the wind ensemble got to know each other and their upperclassmen.

Collector’s Comments:
Since I was living in the room next door to Mike, I was also woken up by the sounds of the members banging on Mike’s door and waking him up. It was actually pretty loud since the members were yelling Mike to get up. Although I was annoyed at first, I think the music group’s initiation ritual is a unique Dartmouth experience that is unforgettable. It brings a lot of energy to the music groups and is valuable in bringing all the members together and creating a strong team.

Comparison:

Comparison within the subgroup: Because the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble is a more professional group than the acapella group and is guided by a conductor, new members of the DCWE are notified of their acceptance a week before wake-up. Since most of the new members of all the groups within the subgroups are mostly freshmen, they are surprised by the wakeups. All of the musical groups’ initiation rituals compose of wakeups and getting a meal together with their group. The purpose of the initiation ritual is to integrate the new members into the group more easily and for the group members to bond with each other.
Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Vanessa Chhoa; 20 years old
Hanover, NH 03755
Dartmouth College
Russian 13: Slavic Folklore
Fall 2018

Initiation Rituals of Music Groups at Dartmouth College – Dodecaphonic

Title: Initiation Rituals of Music Groups at Dartmouth College – Dodecaphonic

General Information about Item:
Genre: Initiation Ritual
Language: English
Country of Origin: UK
Informant: Maxine Perroni-Scharf, female, 19 years old
Place Collected: Dartmouth College, Byrne II
Date Collected: 10-19-2018

Informant Data:
Maxine Perroni-Scharf was born and raised in the UK. She is a sophomore at Dartmouth College and has been singing in choirs at school since she was 8 years old. On campus, she is a member of the Dodecaphonic. Maxine joined the Dodecaphonic her freshmen year because the Dodecaphonic impressed her the most with their performance at the auditions.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: I collected this folklore from Maxine Perroni-Scharf, a sophomore at Dartmouth College. She is a close friend of mine, and the only person I know who is in Dodecaphonic. I asked her about initiation rituals in Dodecaphonic. Maxine told me how she learned about the Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual after experiencing it for the first time freshmen. During her second year, she was the upperclassman that performed the initiation rituals to the new members. The initiation rituals involve the upperclassmen of Dodecaphonic and the newly accepted members.

Cultural Context: The Dartmouth Dodecaphonic (Dodecs) is the College’s oldest and premier co-ed acapella group, singing a variety of music ranging from 80’s, rock, contemporary pop, Dartmouth traditional, and many others. The initiation rituals of the Dodecaphonic is important because all members get to meet each other for the first time and build a strong, tight-knit group, who will eventually travel and perform together across the United State.

Item:
Maxine auditioned to all girl acapella groups on Dartmouth campus. She also had to audition for one solo, where she had to sing a couple of solo songs. It was a day-long process and she didn’t find out of the results until a few days later. During the initiation ritual, older members went to Maxine’s room early in the morning around 4-6 am. They knocked on her door and sang in her room. They separated the new members from the familiar daily routine. After the Dartmouth Dodecaphonic gathered the other new members and sleepy Maxine, they transitioned to Dartmouth Hall, where they sang the Twilight Dartmouth song together. Then, the new members returned to their rooms. After Maxine went to her first rehearsal, all members of the Dodecaphonic drive out to Denny’s super late to get a meal together. The Dodecaphonic also held a party for the new members and told them that everyone would dress as “Space Cats” but, then the upperclassmen did not dress as Space Cats. During the party, older members of the Dodecaphonic passed down quest-items to younger Dodecaphonic and give them Dodecaphonic T-shirt. During the party, they also had an initiation contest, where they spent time together and competed against who can drink jam with a straw first. The last part of the Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual is when the new members perform at their “baby show”. The show was the first time Maxine and the rest of the members sing together. All new members wore flare to show the public that they are new members of the acapella group. This baby show showed their incorporation into the group.

Associated file:

Informant’s Comments: According to Maxine, she thinks Dodecaphonic’s initiation ritual helped new members transition into the acapella group really fast. She said that new members don’t feel like new members anymore after initiation. Everyone in Dodecaphonic was really friendly and welcoming.

Collector’s Comments:
I think the Dodecaphonic’s initiation rituals sound like fun. Because there are more initiation rituals after wake-up, I think the Dodecaphonic’s initiation rituals form a more closed-knit group compared to other musical groups on campus.

Comparison:

Comparison within the subgroup: Since most of the new members of all the groups within the subgroups were mostly freshmen, they were surprised by the wakeup. All of the musical groups’ initiation rituals compose of wakeup and getting a meal together with their group. However, compared to other acapella groups, the Dodecaphonic also have other initiation rituals (e.g. party, sing at Dartmouth Hall) they do to welcome the new members. The purpose of the initiation ritual is to integrate the new members into the group more easily and for the group members to bond with each other.

Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Vanessa Chhoa; 20 years old
Hanover, NH 03755
Dartmouth College
Russian 13: Slavic Folklore
Fall 2018

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Homecoming Bonfire (Post 2017)

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College
  • Informant: Wilson Hafner
  • Date Collected: Fall 2018

Informant Data:

  • Wilson Hafner was born on June 15, 2000. She grew up in Westport, CT with her mother, father, and four sisters. Wilson went to high school at The Taft School and started college at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH in the fall of 2018. Wilson is currently a freshman at Dartmouth and wants to study government and psychology. In the fall of 2018, Wilson participated in the homecoming tradition of the homecoming bonfire.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Dartmouth College was founded in Hanover, NH on December 13, 1769, as an all-male private college. In the fall of 1972, 1000 women were enrolled into Dartmouth’s freshman class, making it the last Ivy League college to begin admitting women. As the ninth-oldest institution for higher education in the United States, Dartmouth College has many student traditions that have developed throughout the years. Many of these traditions revolve around integrating the freshman class into the Dartmouth community, such as the homecoming bonfire.
  • Social Context: Homecoming weekend is an event that happens every fall on campus when alumni of all ages are invited back to Dartmouth in order to commemorate the college and their class. The bonfire is a major event that all alumni and current Dartmouth students are encouraged to attend for the homecoming celebration.

 

Item:

  • Traditionally, the homecoming bonfire is built to be approximately 2-stories tall with the numbers of the freshmen class’s graduation year at the top. On the Friday night of homecoming, the freshman class gathers as a huge group and marches around campus. When the bonfire is lit, the freshman class goes to the green where the bonfire is set up and begins to run around it. Upperclassmen and alumni stand on the outskirts of the bonfire and cheer for the freshmen as they run their laps. Freshmen wear t-shirts with their graduation year on it to show support and pride for their class. It is also a tradition to run around the bonfire as many times as the year one is graduating. However, in 2018, the tradition changed because the college administration got increasingly worried about freshmen students attempting to touch the bonfire. In the past, some students thought it was “funny” or “exciting” to break from the pack of freshman running laps and try to touch the fire. To prevent this hazard, the administration changed the bonfire tradition so that the bonfire was slightly smaller, there was tall fencing around the bonfire, the freshmen were forced to walk instead of run around the fire, and they could only do one lap. Wilson and her class obeyed these new rules and walked one lap around the bonfire in the fall of 2018.

 

Analysis: 

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. In accordance with the old tradition, the separation stage of this initiation ritual still occurs when the freshman class isolates itself from the rest of the student body and comes together as a group to march around campus. The transition stage occurs when the freshmen walk one lap around the bonfire—signifying their integration into the Dartmouth community. Finally, the freshmen are incorporated back into the student body after they finish their one lap, and the freshman class disperses.

Meaning and interpretation: 

  • Running around the bonfire has been an initiation ritual at Dartmouth for over a century. Although some of the recent changes in the ritual—such as being forced to walk—might make the ritual less exciting, it is still an important rite of passage that every Dartmouth student experiences. It is a chance for the freshman class to get attention and support from upperclassmen and alumni and to truly feel as though they are a part of the Dartmouth community. It is also a chance for the class to come together as a group and to feel cohesive.

Comparison:

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this subgroup, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Transcript: Wilson Hafner on the changes in the ritual: “We were hearing so many different things about the controversy surrounding (the bonfire). I think once it becomes more normal after a few years go by, it won’t be as weird. I do still think it is a very important event”

Collector: Caroline Elliott, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

Tags/Keywords:

  • Initiation
  • Ritual
  • Homecoming Bonfire
  • Freshman class
  • Dartmouth

Bat Mitzvah

 

Title: Bat Mitzvah

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Culture: Judaism
  • Informant: Sarah Alpert
  • Date Collected: 2018

Informant Data:

  • Sarah is from Newton, Massachusetts. She was raised by two Jewish parents who are no longer very religious. She rarely celebrates holidays, except for the major ones like Rosh Hashanah. She never really thought of herself as a Jew, but when she saw all of her Jewish friends getting Bat Mitzvahed, she knew she wanted one too. To her, in order to consider herself a Jew, she had to be Bat Mitzvahed. Sarah currently attends Dartmouth College and is 19 years old. She no longer celebrates any Jewish holidays, but she is very happy she was Bat Mitzvahed.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context:  I collected this folklore from Sarah Alpert, a 19 year old student at Dartmouth College. She is a close friend of mine and one of the few Jewish people I know at Dartmouth. She is a member of Hillel, the Jewish community at Dartmouth. I asked her to tell me about Jewish initiation rituals, and she told me about Bat Mitzvahs. Sarah learned about Bat Mitzvahs from a private tutor as her family did not belong to a synagogue. She invited most of her classmates and family members to the ritual, which she performed when she was 12. To her, this was a rite of passage into becoming a woman. She was proud, and said that she felt more like an adult following the event.
  • Cultural Context: The Jewish culture is centered around a tight knit community. It is very important to Jews that the culture is passed on, even if they are not very religious themselves. Therefore, it is very normal for a non religious Jew like Sarah to get a Bat Mitzvah just to stay a part of the community. Even though she is not religious, Sarah said she felt like the ritual made her feel grown up.

Item:

  • At the age of 12, girls can be Bat Mitzvahed. This ritual is almost identical to Bar Mitzvahs, but it is the time when a girl becomes a woman. Most girls study in Hebrew school, but some like Sarah study with a private tutor. The girl must read a section of the Torah that is assigned for the day of the Bat Mitzvah. Just like in Bar Mitzvahs, the girl is separated from her family. She must pass the test of reading from the Torah, and then is incorporated as a woman in the Jewish community. To Sarah, this ritual had nothing to do with making her parents happy, but was a way for her to become a woman in her own eyes.

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

Transcription (from voice recognition software):

Sarah: Bat mitzvah, which is the girls of the little apartments of is basically the coming of age. Money for. Jewish. Teenagers. It occurs when you’re. Supposed to be twelve year old told you’re too old for a girl. Whereas it’s thirteen years old. For a boy or maybe the opposite I forget and we have to do we have to learn a section of the Torah that corresponds to the date on what’s your. That takes place you’re about to start when it takes place and you essentially have to memorize how to read the Torah scripture straight from the Torah. Then you also have to read the corresponding piece of scripture that I like the criticism that’s actually up from the exact word for it. And you have to like the ceremony entails reading these sections from like a platform above the congregation and once you do read all the necessary parts and to sail the necessary prayers you’re considered a part of the ceremony usually by older family members. I think it depends on where you’re from. It’s about taking place but for mine at least I am but in most of my life all my immediate family and then. Some of my other relatives but not too many people. Then most I mean American teenagers at least would invite their friends from school. And I think since most Jews tend to go to camp also their camp friends and. Say. The impact on the impact on me. I am not a very religious person so I would say it had a spiritual effect on me. I would say that I always considered apartments a rite of passage. Just because I grew up in a Jewish community and had Jewish friends and I honestly didn’t know if I would want to have a Bar Mitzvah until I started hanging out with people who were all having them and I went to something else like this seems like an important stage in my life. So I had a Bar Mitzvah based off that. And I think for me I felt strange being the center of so much attention. I was the main concern for me during the event. That was why I was worried about having one. But I think overall I’m glad I did have a bar mitzvah because I think it didn’t necessarily define my transition from childhood to adulthood. It made me feel more of a complete Jew. And. Made me feel like I have more full right to say that I identify with being Jewish.

Me:  Was it difficult to like memorize or learn how to read the Torah. Do you feel like they were testing you.

Sarah: I had a private tutor because I felt I didn’t belong to a synagogue. So for me I was pretty relaxed. My tutor was really nice shoes and woman who have done this with many kids before it’s over like me but from mostly secular families who still wanted to have a Bar Mitzvah ceremony and I usually enjoyed my sessions. I tried really cute cats from the rapper house and we just kind of had a little bit and then go through the day’s lesson and I mean there’s at a time in my life when I didn’t have much homework so it was like a weekly hour I spent reading and memorizing and I think from what I can remember learning the Torah wasn’t too bad because like once you recognize the patterns.

 Informant’s Comments:
  • Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah was very important to her. She felt like it was difficult, and she said it was a coming of age event for her. She invited all of his friends and family, and she had a big party afterward. While she is not very religious, she still felt like it was important to have a Bat Mitzvah.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I could tell that Sarah really cared about her Bat Mitzvah. It made her family very proud, and she definitely felt like she had grown up following the ceremony.

Collector’s Name: Evan Muscatel

Tags/Keywords:

  • Bat Mitzvah
  • Initiation Ritual

Comparison:

  • Comparison within the subgroup:  Sarah is from a family of reform Jews; however, the ritual is almost the same across all types of Judaism. The Bat Mitzvah must read from the torah and she is celebrated as an adult after. This is common among all jews. However, reform jews must be 13 to have a Bat Mitzvah, while other sects of Judaism only require the girl to be 12.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups (Written by Katarina Nesic): The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Bar Mitzvah

 

Title: Bar Mitzvah

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Culture: Judaism
  • Informant: Justin Kramer
  • Date Collected: 2018

Informant Data:

  • Justin Kramer is from San Francisco, California. He went to a Jewish school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. He was raised Jewish his entire life, and his parents are both Jewish. His family is not very religious, but they do still participate in most holidays and traditions to stay a part of the community. Most of the people Justin knows are Jewish since he grew up going to a Jewish school. When I collected this information, Justin was 19 and studying at Dartmouth College. He was Bar Mitzvahed when he was 13.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context:  I collected this folklore from Justin Kramer, a 19 year old student at Dartmouth College. He is a friend of mine and a member of Hillel, the Jewish community at Dartmouth. I asked him to tell me about Jewish initiation rituals, and he told me about Bar Mitzvahs. Justin learned of Bar Mitzvahs in Jewish middle school as every boy was Bar Mitzvahed. All of his classmates and close friends and family attended. He performed the ritual when he turned 13. They were their to celebrate Justin (Mazel Tov as he said). He said he felt proud and that it was a stepping stone in his life. He said they are normally in the morning and the party is at night.
  • Cultural Context: The Jewish culture is centered around a tight knit community. Jews have been persecuted for thousands of years, so naturally they feel more comfortable around other jews. Also, it is very important to Jews that the culture is passed on. Justin said his grandparents really wanted him to be Bar Mitzvahed, and he felt that he made them proud.

Item:

  • A Jewish boy can be Bar Mitzvahed when he turns 13. It is a big celebration in which the boy becomes a man. He must study for years to learn all of the prayers required to become a man. First, he must separate himself from his family. Then, he is tested as he must read from the Torah. Then, he is incorporated as a man in the Jewish community. He is celebrated in a big party, and everybody shouts “mazel tov” to congratulate him. During the party, the Bar Mitzvah chooses one girl to dance with as his first dance as a man. Afterwards, the Hava Nagila dance is performed as they are lifted up and down in a chair.

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

Transcription (using voice recognition software):

Comments wasn’t General or my bar both. Which was in general are meant to signify a Jew becoming an adult in the eyes of the Jewish religion. So I’ve had my bar mitzvah right around my 13th birthday which is when guys typically have it. Girls can have their apartments far starting at age 12. And my bar mitzvah was in the local Jewish Community Center. Most people have their bar mitzvahs in the mornings with a party in the night. My family isn’t that strictly observant so. Mine started around 5:00p.m. I did a little bit of Torah portion but we also mixed in some other fun things I told some. Fun Jewish stories called out what they’re called. I told some stories and also. Did a couple of little like kind of mythology things and there was mythology themed which was fun. I think the term for a Jewish story by the way is in my. But don’t quote me on that unless it’s correct then you can quote me on that that after immediately after the service people threw a little sun kissed chewy candies at me to congratulate me. Mazel tov and then I had a party immediately after the basement of the big ballroom of the building that I was in who was there. So I went to a Jewish day school kindergarten through eighth grade and so my school had a rule that you had to invite everyone in the grade. So at that point like 33 of us all them were invited. Many of them were there plus had some other friends from sports and some other activities along with all of my extended family that could make it. Some family friends parents some of my some of my closest friends had their parents there as well. I think for me more than anything it was kind of like. A check point in life like I’ve made it through 13 years and I’m becoming a man in the eyes of the Jewish religion. But it was really cool to have so many friends and family there supporting me. And the fact that they felt I guess a really big accomplishment meant a lot to me and being surrounded by. So many people who made such a big effort to get there really meant a lot to me I’d say.

 Informant’s Comments:
  • Justin’s Bar Mitzvah was very important to him. He felt like it was difficult, and he said it was a coming of age event for him. He invited all of his friends and family, and he had a big party afterward.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I could tell that Justin really cared about his Bar Mitzvah. It made his family very proud, and he definitely felt like he had grown up following the ceremony.

Collector’s Name: Evan Muscatel

Tags/Keywords:

  • Bar Mitzvah
  • Initiation Ritual

Comparison:

  • Comparison within the subgroup:  Justin is from a family of reform Jews; however, the ritual is almost the same across all types of Judaism. The Bar Mitzvah must be 13 in all sects of Judaism, he must read from the torah, and he is celebrated as an adult after. This is common among all jews.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups (Written by Katarina Nesic): The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.