Bwa ha ha ha ha.
So, my school has this tradition about fire. I’m not sure how old it is–not as old as the college itself, certainly–but it’s been going strong for a while now. During Freshman Convocation, the wee entering froshies are led up the hill (like every old liberal arts college worth its salt, the school sits on top of a hill lording over the town in the valley below) by the senior honor society, the members of whom are carrying torches. Then, the night before Commencement, the now-seniors are each given a lit torch to carry down the hill in the creatively named ‘Torchlight Precession.’ It looks something like this:
The torches are then thrown onto a bonfire, with the terror of flying fire increasing as the procession…uh…proceeds, because naturally the sober people (myself included) go first, followed by a string of our increasingly intoxicated peers. Well, “peers.” I use the word in the loosest possible sense…
It’s actually a lovely bit of symbolism. As freshmen, we are led up the hill into the realm of academia by our mentors, who bear the fire of wisdom. As graduates, we have gained our own fire, which we carry out into the world as we descend from campus.
Or, as the more cynical among us are prone to say, “It takes four years of strenuous training, but they finally trust us to handle fire.” This is probably not a terribly good decision on the part of the school, as the sober students spend the entire precession going, “Ahhh my stick’s on fire! My stick’s on fire!” and the drunkards are in constant danger of lighting the beer/vodka/whiskey in their non-torch hand on fire.
Cynicism and technical snafus aside, I really enjoyed the ceremony. It really is fun carrying fire (bwa ha ha), and I do love the symbolism. Plus, since we were towards the front of the precession, it felt like all the parents and friends gathered along the route were cheering for us 🙂
I am a disciple of knowledge, and I carry within me the fire of wisdom. As is my charge, I will safeguard its spirit, sharing it with all whom I meet, that the light of wisdom may spread to all.