Saturday, March 09, 2013
This is an interesting time of year on our campus so I thought I would share some of the happenings leading up to St. Patrick's Day. First a little background. Many years ago (105 to be exact) the students on our campus declared St. Patrick to be the patron saint of engineers and convinced the administration that they should have a day off to celebrate. So for 105 years we have had a Spring Recess to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. As one would expect, a lot of tradition has built up during the weeks leading up to a parade. This past week was the snake invasion. Pledges to the many fraternities and sororities on campus make humongous shillelaghs that they have to carry around on their shoulders. If they are spotted near certain areas of campus they are recruited to kill a snake (don't worry, they are rubber snakes). It used to be all around campus but now they are restricted to a couple of fenced in areas. To kill the snakes they have to smack them with their shillelagh as many times as the number of years they have been celebrating St. Pat's. So this year they have to whack those darn snakes 105 times while yelling out the number. If they screw up they have to start all over again. Some of these shillelaghs are quite large and I can't imagine swinging those things over 100 times but sure makes for a good workout (there, I made this a fitness related blog). It can lead to quite a spectacle as dozens of students simultaneously whack snakes and count. The women are much more organized than the men and tend to work in groups with their sorority sisters cheering them on, chanting in unison while the men all count separately. Very bizarre but also mesmerizing and fun to watch. Now the snakes are gone and the reverie is about to begin. The weather is looking pretty nice leading up to next Saturday's parade so it may be a wild week.