May Day is the perfect Sunday. Traditions, Mawrtyrs, strawberries and cream, the May Hole, Step Sing, The Philadelphia Story, drinks on the Green: all set against the unparalleled backdrop of Bryn Mawr College — how could a Sunday be better? Ordinarily, I’m not especially attached to any particular day, but Bryn Mawr’s May Day is always on Sunday, and every May Day I have attended has been glorious.
Freshman year, everything was brand new. I’d never seen a May Hoop race or heard hundreds of people shouting “Hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy has got to go” together and screaming along to Dar Williams’ “As Cool As I Am.” I’d never seen The Philadelphia Story (especially not with other Mawrtyrs, and trust me, that’s an experience all its own). I hadn’t experienced the way Bryn Mawr bids farewell to seniors with “Good Night,” the same way the frosh are welcomed at the beginning of the year. It was my very first May Day, and I’d never seen anything like it.
When May Day came around in 2008, May Day was no longer new, but it was still special. I knew what was happening, and instead of making it feel less exciting, I felt like an inner member of the club. I wasn’t just experiencing our traditions; I was owning them. The Shakespeare Performance Troupe performed part of their production of Servant of Two Masters, which was fantastic. The Philadelphia Story was better than ever, similar to the way repeat viewings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show allow for one to participate in the experience.
Junior year proved that even immense amounts of rain can’t stop Mawrtyrs from celebrating May Day. The rain actually made the May Hole dance particularly fun; we danced in the rain and slide around on top of the parachute that usually sends rose petals flying up into the sky. The downpour ceased in time for the Step Sing, and The Philadelphia Story took place inside Thomas as always.
My last May Day as a student was also my first Grand May Day. Everything was especially meaningful because I knew that it would, in many ways, be my last. My suitemate and I woke extra early so that we could sing outside Pen-Y-Groes, the President’s house before climbing to the top of one of Rock’s towers with other seniors. It was a brilliant view. We had mimosas in our suite with friends (a tradition that was May Day gifted to my suitemate by a friend) and then headed on to the special seniors’ brunch at Wyndham (which involved even more mimosas, as well as the traditional strawberries and cream).
The sun was shining; I had Bryn Mawr nalgenes full of Sex On The Beach and Mojito; I sang my senior solo with my amazing a cappella group. It was a fabulous day. I indulged in both streaking during the Step Sing and skinny-dipping in both the Cloisters and Taft Garden. I sat on the Senior Steps for the Step Sing, and it was a wonderful feeling. Drinking, singing, shouting, Anassing, crying — it was an intense Step Sing. It was a grand mess, and one I wouldn’t have exchanged for anything.
I wasn’t able to make the trip to Bryn Mawr for May Day this year, but I celebrated in my own way. And for this upcoming May Day, I’m hoping and planning to actually be at Bryn Mawr. May Day at the Mawr is my idea of the perfect Sunday.