If you hear someone talking about “tradition” in the States, it almost always comes with a negative connotation. At least in my experience it has. I am not sure if this comes from the fact that Americans want to be free from the rest of the world or if it is strangely left over from the protestant reformation or the popularity of the protestant church in the States, but people don’t really seem to value old traditions.
Coming to St. Andrews has already taught me an entirely new meaning of the word. People here love tradition and there are plenty of opportunities to participate. Since being here I have already encountered many lovely traditions that I am very excited to participate in.
Some of the traditions are quite random. They have one here called the Pier Walk. As far as I can tell, several Sundays per year students don their red gowns and meet at the pier to walk… on the pier. They start at one side of the pier and walk down and back. No one is entirely sure how this tradition originated, and yet almost everyone participates. St. Andrews also loves it, and takes hundreds of pictures for postcards and advertisements. I am very excited to participate in this tradition!
My favorite tradition is the St. Andrews tradition of academic families. Every year when all of the new students arrive they are each adopted by an academic mother and academic father. Students are not assigned academic parents, but when an older student meets a younger student they like they might ask if they can adopt them. Some people are academically married and adopt children together, but most parents are not. The first night Tiffany and I went out we were fortunate enough to meet some really sweet girls who quickly adopted us, and a few hours later we also met our academic father. So we have the same father but different mothers… lol 😛 Academic parents help their children not get quite so lost during their freshmen year and also throw a huge party for them halfway through the first semester (More to come on this later!!)
Another thing that is more traditional is the Scottish ceilidh. I have never been to one but… good news! In about two hours Tiffany and I will be at our very first ceilidh for the year! So very soon you will hear all about it! But I best start getting ready before it is too late….. 😛