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Five unusual university traditions

Every university has traditions – from annual luncheons to fancy balls but their sole purpose is to bring the community together. Here are some traditions that are slightly more unusual…

Also, take a look at 10 unusual degree courses and 10 unusual university societies.

1. Time Ceremony

• Where: Merton College, Oxford

During the very early hours of the last Sunday of October, students march around the “Fellows’ quad drinking port” backwards to maintain the space-time continuum during the change from British summer time to Greenwich meantime.

2. Ascension Day

• Where: Lincoln and Brasenose Colleges, Oxford

Not to be confused with ‘The Ascension of Christ’. Ascension Day takes place between Lincoln and Brasenose Colleges every year; as a sign of apology for allegedly shutting out one of their – Brasenose – members and in the process, accidentally killing them, Lincoln members serve “poisoned” beer to Brasenose members. Also, Lincoln College have taken the deed of warning Brasenose members about greed by tossing heated pennies at primary school children.

3. Raisin Weekend

• Where: University of St Andrews

At the beginning of the year, third years “adopt” a first year and every November, the first year returns to their “Mother” and “Father’s” house to be dressed in extravagant and completely silly clothing while the mother holds a raisin tea party. The father then gives their “child” an item that the first year then has to carry around during a foam fight – where beans are also thrown at them.

4. Suicide Sunday

• Where: University of Oxford

Don’t worry; it isn’t as gruesome as it sounds! It’s – very simply put – a celebration weekend before the first week of May after exams have finished. The weekend includes: jelly wrestling, foam parties and champagne showers. Sounds really fun, though we don’t why they call it ‘Suicide Sunday’…

5. Pirate Initiation

• Where: Gloucestershire University

This annual initiation at the start of the year includes having to dress up as a pirate and sucking on meat flavoured food cubes. And if that isn’t embarrassing enough, participants have to then parade around town while stuffing raw fish down their undergarments! Fortunately, this initiation isn’t open to all students but only for the new members of the Gloucestershire University women’s hockey team.



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