Yule Log Ceremony

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The Yule Log Ceremony at the College of William and Mary is held annually each December shortly before the end of final exams for the Fall semester. The president of the university reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Vice President of Student Affairs traditionally reads "Twas the Night Before Finals." After the readings and performances by the William and Mary Choir and a cappella group The Gentlemen of the College, a log is passed through the crowd with students touching the log for good luck for the rest of finals. The log is then lit and students walk through the Great Hall of the Wren Building and throw a sprig of holly on the fire to throw their cares away.

The Yule Log Ceremony was started by President John Stewart Bryan in December 1934. Bryan was known for his love of pageantry and celebrating convocations and anniversaries, including creating Charter Day, an annual event to celebrate the granting of the Royal Charter to the College in 1693. The first Yule Log Ceremony featured decorative lights in the Brafferton, President's House, and the Wren Building. Freshmen, portraying the role of serfs, would carry the Yule log into the Wren Building's Great Hall with 1,000 students and faculty looking on. Bryan was dressed in costume as lord of the manor and was waited on by other costumed lords and ladies. When leaving the Wren Building, the students and faculty would each carry a light torch and join a processional of students carrying a wild boar's head toward Trinkle Hall for dinner. The night ended with a festive dance for all the students and faculty.

References

  • Godson, Susan H. et. al., The College of William and Mary: A History, King and Queen Press, Society of the Alumni, College of William and Mary, 1993, pg. 643-644.

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