May is an exciting time on college campuses: classes are coming to an end, graduation is nigh, and the weather is getting warm. Many local colleges and universities have a standing tradition to have May Day celebrations. Bluffton College still celebrates annually with a musical, art exhibit, class reunion, a run/walk event, a luncheon, baseball game, and a Maypole Dance.
The University of Toledo also celebrates with a Songfest. This is a group of six fraternities singing old college songs on the lawn, a tradition which dates to 1937. The women joined in the festivities in 1940. Changes were made to the celebration in the 1970s, opening the event to non-Greek organizations. Currently, UT has a variety of campus organizations performing song and dance routines that are relevant to the theme selected.
BGSU at one time also had a very extensive May Day celebration, although it has faded away as an old fashioned tradition. Activities included a maypole event, followed by Alumni reunions, luncheons and so forth, as well as a dance. An additional honor for the pretty and popular women was being crowned May Queen. This honor was as high as that of Homecoming Queen. Famous alumna Eva Marie Saint was crowned May Queen in 1946.
The May Day festivities were begun in 1924, with an outdoor Royal procession, dancing on the green, a Maypole dance, and a dance following the festivities. These activities were a tradition for more than forty years.
It is in May when the Spring Fever really hits, and students on college campuses feel the desire for warm weather and outdoor activity. Unfortunately these past traditions have been abandoned, leaving students to celebrate the coming of spring on their own.
For more information on BGSU’s May Day festivities, check the BGNews Index