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Customary Lore Home

Customary Lore Home

The Customs of a college community can take the form of rituals, parties, gestures, and beliefs. It is customary for students at the University of Texas to display the “hook'em horns” by extending their pinkies and index fingers. Students at the University rub the foot of their minuteman statue before exams. And at campuses across the country, it is bad luck to step on the college seal, with transgressors suffering such penalties as never marrying or never graduating. All of these are considered customary behavior.

Games and Dances

Maypole danceThese organized activities may be sanctioned by (and organized by) college officials, but it is unlikely that such events would continue without the grassroots support of the students. Only those events that fulfill some need or reflect the group identity will continue through the years.

Gift Exchanges

Most people are familiar with gift giving rituals such as the “Secret Santa” in work environments. College relationships provide ample opportunity for various gift-giving rituals.

Graduation Rituals

Graduating seniors feel the need to mark their passage from college to the “real world” in sometimes solemn and sometimes impish ways.

Theme Parties or Festivals

Fraternities are particularly drawn to theme parties that allow brothers and their dates to transform themselves within the prescribed rules of their chosen theme. The most famous (or infamous) theme is the toga party popularized by the film Animal House. Campus-wide celebrations, such as the Sadie Hawkins Day, likewise provide opportunities for transformation and merriment.