This year was a cold and wet May Day, but my friends and I still found ways to celebrate. May Day is hands down the biggest tradition at Bryn Mawr. In this post, I’ll describe each tradition.
The Nights Before: Each student receives a May Day scroll of the schedule of events in their campus mailbox the Friday before May Day. The schedule of events and guest performers are always a surprise revealed when we read our scrolls. This year’s theme was Outer Space. We also received a NASA styled patch. Mawrters can make flower crowns in the Campus Center on Saturday night. Haverfest also happens Friday and Saturday. Seniors deliver May Day gifts to their beloved underclassmen the night before May Day. Some of these items have been passed down for years. The senior will write their name and class year, and the name and class year of the underclassman receiving the gift. I’ve gotten crazy gifts before like a pink wig and a cardboard lawn watch dog.
May Day Breakfast: The Classic Strawberries & Cream with assorted muffins and scones. Seniors eat in Wyndham, underclassman in Erdman. On May Days, Mawrters dress in white. This is like the only day you will see the dining hall this crowded for early breakfast. May Day starts early, and we take that very seriously.
Parade: Welsh dancers and musicians start the parade in Erdman Dining Hall and lead the parade through the Pembroke Arches to Merion Green. The President and the Traditions Mistresses and Senior Class Presidents ride a horse carriage from Rock Arch to Merion Green, followed by the parade of May Pole Dancers.
May Pole Dancing: This is a race between the class years to weave the may pole the fastest. Usually the seniors win. After the race, President KCass gives a speech, then the Senior Class Presidents give a short speech.
Senior Hoop Racing: The seniors race down the Senior Row trees. There are prophecies for each place someone finishes, like first to marry, first to get a Ph.D., etc. Seniors usually run or walk with their hoop around their waist.
Afternoon Activities: Lunch, Airbrush Tattoos, Caricature Drawings, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Funnel Cakes, Photoshoots with Hell Family and Friends, Bouncy Houses (weather permitting). This is also the time to take a nice afternoon nap, usually outside on a picnic blanket. I took a nap in my room.
Performances: Acapella, Battle of the Bands winners, and the headliner: Jay Sean this year. He brought it back to our childhoods in 2009 performing his hits “Down,” “Do You Remember” (of course I remember!), “2012 (It Ain’t the End),” and some of his newer songs. He even brought his daughter on stage! Jay Sean was very popular when I was a freshman in high school. I even knew someone who used the song “Down” for her phone ringtone. A bunch of Haverford students crash May Day for the headliner performance because we spend more money on our headliner. (Just to be transparent, I’m telling you it’s $25K.)
May Day ends pretty early for most people: After the headliner performance, there’s dinner and a couple late movie screenings like a Hepburn movie. I usually head back to my room after dinner because the reality of finals is real. This year, I had a Nutrition exam the day after May Day, so I had to stay in to study.
Step Sing & Goodnight: This is the last step sing of the year, and the time when we say goodbye to our seniors. Singing, Lanterns, and Rushing the Steps are involved. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go this year because of my final the next day. But after step sing, the juniors are finally considered seniors and gain the privilege to sit on the senior steps on Taylor Hall.