St Andrews has celebrated the ancient tradition of Raisin weekend once again. The eyes of national and international media outlets turned to our proud town – not because of royalty for once, but to enjoy a 700-year old celebration.
Raisin Weekend is a tradition which began with tertian (3rd year students) welcoming the bejants (freshers) by giving them a pound’s worth of raisins. In true Scottish and student fashion, however, this has been adapted into a booze-fuelled weekend with games, costumes, embarrassment and a great big messy foam fight to round it all off.
On Raisin Sunday the Union was closed, with the exception of the foyer of Club 601, where support services were available. Around noon the customary scavenger hunts had taken over the town, which proved to be just as entertaining for the spectators as for the participants.
The foam fight this year was held in Lower College lawn once again, rather than in our beloved St Salvator’s Quad. Those leaving the fight had the comfort of being hosed down by the University Chaplain, Donald MacEwan, and serenaded by the University choir. Academic families lined the streets to escort their children in their costumes and with their Raisin receipts in a parade which ran smoothly thanks to the work of the local police and University staff. A particularly favourite costume (or “death trap” to those wearing it) were the family who were holding a protest at the death Harambe, carrying placards such as ‘Bush Did Harambe.’
Students had been warned not to allow weekend revelry to get out of hand. On Tuesday 11 October, Fife Police Division issued this statement via their website and social media pages, which had also been emailed to all students by the University Press Office. Fortunately the weekend saw few altercations with the police and little offence caused to the local population.
Raisin continues to be a tradition we can be proud of, and one which other universities deeply envy (if they can get their head around the bizarre concept). Remember to send the Environment Team photos of your raisin costumes as they running a competition for the ‘Greenest’ costumes.