“Girls just want to have fun.” Isn’t that what the famous American song says? Well, I think not only girls but also guys are willing to catch a break and have some fun. And the best place for this is, of course, college. Yes, everyone tells us that college years are our best years and we should enjoy them. I’m all for it. However, I’m not talking about the corny parties with lots of booze. I mean real college traditions with cool stories behind them that you can have a great time honoring. Today, I have prepared for you a killer selection of traditions from various colleges and universities across the country. Are you ready to learn something interesting? Buckle up, we’re going!
Japanese University Traditions I’d Like to Share
I got interested in this topic of college traditions when I moved from Japan to the US to study. You see, Japanese universities have a lot of rituals. Most of them imply a great meaning and a deep spirituality. Among the most amazing traditions that come to my mind are the college graduation ceremonies. In Japanese, we call them Sotsugyoshiki. These are well-thought-out events during which students wear traditional hakama and kimono, symbolizing their transition to adulthood.
There is also a unique Takigyo practice, meditation under a waterfall. Young people must brave cold, rushing water to purify their spirits and harden their inner strength. In the spring, university youth gather under the cherry blossom trees for Hanami, or cherry blossom parties, to spend some time together and enjoy life. During cultural festivals (Bunkasai), students “brag” their talents. Apart from learners’ performances, these events include those of various artists, dancing, and a whole bunch of delicious foods.
Knowing about such great college traditions in my home country, I was anxious to know if there was anything similar here, where I was going to spend the next four years of my life. And here’s what I’ve found out.
Fun Universities or My Favorite US College Traditions
Undoubtedly, American universities also have a wide variety of traditions and customs. Some of them I like more, some less. For instance, the weirdest rituals of nude students covered by blue paint run around the campus at Reed College. In my opinion, it’s just inappropriate. I could not even imagine that the weirdest traditions could be anything like this.
As for customs and practices in general, there are many filled with deep meaning, while others simply give students the opportunity to get a break from studying, which they need much, let’s be honest. In my overview, I haven’t included the weirdest colleges. I’d like to tell you about the traditions of Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Baylor University, and the unique University of Alaska mascot.
Columbia University traditions
One of the first places I would like to mention is Columbia University, as it is located in the heart of my favorite city that never sleeps, New York. This is one of the colleges with the best traditions, I think. The school boasts almost 300 years of history and is famous for its interesting traditions and customs. Here are just a few of them:
- Bacchanalia is an annual spring concert that has been one of the longstanding college traditions at Columbia for many decades. It’s a day of live music, food, and good vibes that bring all students on campus together. The venue has a rich history of performances by such famous artists as Snoop Dogg, Vampire Weekend, and Kanye West.
- Orgo Night is one of the most interesting Columbia traditions. The event takes place the night before organic chemistry exams. The Columbia University Marching Band, also known as CUMB, gives a nightly musical performance to remember. I guess it’s one of the weird traditions in college you may think of.
- The Columbia Varsity Show is an annual musical production traditionally written and performed by students themselves. It has been around since 1894 and is known for its witty humor, often reflecting current cultural and political events.
University of Michigan traditions to celebrate
The University of Michigan is located in the city of Ann Arbor. The school is known for a vibrant sports community. Here are some of its cherished college traditions:
- The Michigan Marching Band is an all-important part of game day at the State University of Michigan. The band rocks at every home football game, creating a rowdy atmosphere with their iconic fight song “The Victors” or “Hail to the Victors!” Students and fans always sing the lyrics at the top of their lungs. The song has become a symbol of pride for the Wolverines, the university’s football team. Perhaps for some of my compatriots, this may seem like an example of weird traditions in America.
- Michigan Stadium is affectionately known as the “Big House.” Although not exactly a university tradition, it is one of the most prominent places where the proud young Michigans often gather. It is one of the largest college football stadiums in the United States. Game days here are a spectacle that draws over 100,000 fans, creating a truly special atmosphere and a feeling of unity.
Baylor University traditions
Baylor University has its own unique traditions that praise the school’s Christian heritage and a strong sense of campus community. There are no weird rituals in here. A few of Baylor University’s traditions include:
- Every Tuesday, the university hosts “Dr. Pepper Hour.” This event brings students, faculty, and staff together to take a break from work, enjoy a free Dr. Pepper, and have a nice time in the Bill Daniel Student Center.
- Diadeloso, or “Day of the Bear,” is an annual spring festival that has been running at the school since the early 1960s. The celebration offers delicious food, games, and a whole lot of fun to Baylor students.
University of Alaska mascot: It’s not all about fun traditions
I’d like to highlight the college traditions of the University of Alaska. I fell in love with their mascot. It is as unique as the snowy landscapes of Alaska. Its name is “Nanook.” It translates from the Inupiaq language as “polar bear.”
I think it’s really cool that this school has such a distinctive mascot. Its meaning goes deeper than just a tribute to the fauna of the university’s location. This is the celebration of the college’s connection to nature and the overall spirit of the state. Although it may seem like one of those strange traditions to some people, I think the connection with nature is important to mark.
Time-Honored College Traditions I Find Really Cool
Some college traditions are specific to a particular school. However, there are those that are practiced in many. Among the most typical rituals in universities, I would like to highlight the following:
- Homecoming Week. This is a time-honored tradition celebrated by almost every college and university, such as Cornell University, for instance. It usually includes a week of festivities, including parades, sporting events, and Homecoming Dance. This is a chance for everyone to participate in funny rituals and a parade of students, show their school spirit, and reconnect with their alma mater.
- Rivalry Games. Many colleges have longstanding sports rivalries with other institutions. Fans can’t wait to lay their eyes on these games. The honorable mentions here will be the Harvard-Yale football rivalry or the Duke-UNC basketball showdown. Students and faculty can participate in cheering their team and have the best time in their lives.
- Founder’s Day is one of the world-known famous traditions in universities. This is a celebration of the person or persons who founded the school. It often includes special ceremonies, lectures, and fun activities where students can honor the heritage of the institution. I really like this kind of college traditions since it’s a great way for people to praise the achievements of the past, and it’s beautiful.
Most Fun Colleges in the USA: My Edition
When choosing a school, the fun factor can be just as important as academics, in my humble opinion. Some cool universities can offer more in terms of well-rounded campus life, exciting extracurricular activities, and even a sense of adventure. Here are a couple of colleges that I believe are a lot of fun to study at:
- University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
UCSB is one of the most fun universities. It is famous for its beachside location and laid-back California vibe. Students can enjoy surfing, beach parties, and a lively Isla Vista community.
- University of Florida
Looking for funny colleges? The University of Florida in Gainesville offers students a warm climate, spirited sports events, and bustling social vibes. And Gator football games are worth every second you watch them.
- University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)
UT Austin blends academic excellence with thriving music and arts and funny traditions. Sixth Street, at the heart of Austin, is known for its hostable bars and cozy restaurants with live music.
So, how do you find these traditions? Eager to attend one or two? Save this article for later or share it with your friends – help them spend more fun time at their university.