What is Raisin Monday and why is it celebrated?
Raisin Monday is a traditional event at the University of St Andrews, where thousands of students gather for a giant foam fight on the Lower College Lawn. The event is part of a larger celebration called Raisin Weekend, which follows a period of mentoring between older and newer students. The older students, called “parents”, adopt the first year students, called “children”, and help them adjust to the university life. The parents entertain their children with pranks and games, and give them a special gift, usually a strange object with a Latin inscription. The children then dress up in fancy costumes and carry their gifts to the foam fight, where they are sprayed with shaving foam by their parents.
How did Raisin Monday get its name and history?
The name Raisin Monday comes from the tradition of giving a pound of raisins to the academic parents as a thank you gift for their hospitality. This tradition dates back to the 15th century, when the university was founded. However, over time, the raisins were replaced by more creative and humorous gifts, such as rubber ducks, toilet seats, or inflatable animals. The Latin inscriptions on the gifts are also meant to be witty and nonsensical, such as “Semper ubi sub ubi” (Always wear underwear) or “Carpe diem et noctem” (Seize the day and night).
What are the benefits of Raisin Monday for the students and the community?
Raisin Monday is not only a fun and festive event, but also a way of fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the students. The academic families provide a support network for the newcomers, who may feel overwhelmed or homesick in their first year. The event also helps to create a unique identity and culture for the university, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Scotland. Moreover, Raisin Monday also has a charitable aspect, as the students donate items for the Storehouse Foodbank in St Andrews, which provides food and essentials for people in need.
What are the challenges and risks of Raisin Monday in the pandemic era?
Raisin Monday is not without its challenges and risks, especially in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event involves close contact and physical interaction among thousands of people, which could increase the chances of virus transmission. The university has taken some measures to ensure the safety and health of the participants, such as requiring proof of vaccination or negative test results, limiting the number of spectators, and providing hand sanitizers and masks. However, some critics have argued that Raisin Monday is irresponsible and unnecessary, given the rising cases and deaths in Scotland and around the world.
What will happen next after Raisin Monday for the students and the university?
Raisin Monday marks the end of Raisin Weekend, but also the beginning of a new academic year for the students and the university. The students will resume their studies and activities, while maintaining their bonds with their academic families. The university will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidelines from the government and health authorities. Raisin Monday is a tradition that has survived for centuries, and will likely continue to do so in the future.