[image via Zimbio]
In case you’re wondering what on earth Raisin Weekend is, I suggest reviewing this article. I’ll just tell you what I observed both yesterday and today.
Raisin Weekend is a long-time celebrated tradition at the University of St Andrews, and in my opinion, traditions must be maintained. Of course, alterations are sometimes granted, or in this case, amplifications.
What might have originally begun as the gifting of a pound of raisins from academic child to academic parent has evolved over the years to wine and…the rest of the bar.
Although I did not participate in Raisin Weekend, I still enjoyed learning a bit about it through observation. At least, I saw and heard the truth in today’s Raisin Weekend.
Beginning Saturday, I overheard nervous freshers discuss their concerns about what Raisin Sunday might bring. Things like, “I heard that they wake you up at 6 a.m. with a shot,” or, “my friend said she was pretty much blacked out for the entirety of it” buzzed in the dining hall over dinner. Of course, the excitement was also mingled with concerns: “our mums and dads buy all of the alcohol!” and, “I haven’t gone out all week, so I’ll be ready for Sunday.” Free alcohol for a near 12 hours is one way to get just-legal teens to join in on “tradition.”
On Saturday, it was not surprise to me that there were maybe all of 15 people in the dining hall at one time. Everyone was already up and ready for Raisin by possibly 6 a.m. No orange juice for students this Saturday morning…unless of course, it was spiked with vodka.
Nearly everyone I spoke with who participated in Raisin was warned to report to their “parents'” house with a full stomach. For good reason, too. I mean, when there’s a day with a lot of goals on the itinerary and every one of them relating to alcohol, it’s probably wise to have some food in your system. Bring on the cereal, toast, and croissants. Bread. Any kind of bread.
The day begins with a “tea party” (day-drinking party) hosted by the academic mums. The mums get the “kids” all dolled up in their finest party attire: marker drawings on the face in the form of anything and everything. I saw a few unibrows as well as labels written on the forehead. In addition to this cheap makeup, embarrassing costumes and embellishments are also common. I saw baby diapers, trios tied together at the legs, duck-taped together by the hands with a bottle of wine in between, and the list goes on. Once a day of public embarrassment is over, the day continues on to the dads’ parties for the evening.
This is the point when Raisin is turned up a level, and it is my assumption that this is also the make-or-break moment: will you last the rest of the night? A house party, maybe a pub-crawl and God knows what else lies ahead. To be honest, I don’t know all the details of what happened Saturday evening, but I’m sure it was the best night some will never remember.
This morning, Raisin Monday, represents survival. In celebration, a massive shaving cream fight takes place in St Salvator’s Quad. Once more, “kids” come dressed in whatever theme costume the academic mums find fitting for her “family.” My two favorites that I saw today were Monsters Inc. and Up. There were so many others, but these were my favorites.
The drunkenness may have worn off for the participants, but the streets linger with the remnants of what must have been a memorable (or maybe not easily memorable) Raisin Weekend. Broken bottles on every corner, the occasional unfortunate puke puddle, and footprints of shaving cream stamped on the sidewalk decorated the town of St Andrews today.
Congratulations to all who made it through Raisin Weekend! I applaud your bravery.