It's Homecoming Weekend at Dartmouth! If you want the short version- fire, food, fun. If you are interested in the long version- keep reading!
Homecoming is a weekend when alumni and family come to campus to celebrate and reminisce. The theme this year was celebrating fifty years of women's athletics.
Fun fact: The Class of 2026 will be the fiftieth co-ed class to graduate!
The bonfire tradition dates back more than a century and is easily one of the biggest (and brightest) events of the year. It is a huge contraception made out of extremely dry wood that bursts into flames and lasts for hours. As dangerous as this may sound, there are many safety precautions taken, so no student is in danger of getting harmed by the fire.
We walked around the entire campus, stopping at each freshman dorm to pick up fellow students, and then headed to the bonfire together. The freshman class walked around the bonfire once (though some did run around 26 times as per tradition). The fire is so large that it warms up the entire green, which was so welcoming in this freezing October weather. The bonfire is built and lit by the incoming freshman class, the 26's!
The next day was the Homecoming Game, Dartmouth vs. Harvard! All games grant free entry to Dartmouth students. Even though we did not win the game, it was still a good place to be (totally not because of the free pizza and Dartmouth merch).
Homecoming weekend happens to also fall on Halloweekend! Coming from a place where Halloween is not celebrated, it was surprising to me to see how much importance is placed on it here. You could find people dressed as everything you can and cannot imagine; ranging from a simple devil to a bottle of ketchup.
There are plenty of Halloween-themed events to attend such as pumpkin carving and horror movie nights! The best decorations I have seen are at the Class of '53 Commons (aka FOCO). Even though classes are extremely demanding at Dartmouth, there is always time to take a break and enjoy a weekend steeped in Dartmouth tradition, and probably the biggest fire you will ever see.