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Bryn Mawr College festivals

Locality
Locality Bryn Mawr College
Vicinity Bryn Mawr, 16 km W of Philadelphia
Adm. Div. Lower Merion, Pennsylvania
Began 1900
Ended Ongoing
Events Morris dancers; march; parade with May queens and dancers; May pole dancing; races; games; plays: Robin Hood, King Arthur, St George & dragon, etc.; films; choirs, etc.
Bryn Mawr College postcard showing the "Robin Hood" band in the May Day procession, 1906 / Private collection.
Bryn Mawr College postcard showing "Robin Hood", May Day fête, 1906 / Private collection.
Bryn Mawr College postcard showing "The Shepherdesses", May Day fête, 1906 / Private collection.
2003: May Day at Bryn Mawr College / Wikipedia.
2012?: May Day at Bryn Mawr / Bryn Mawr College website.
2014?: May Day at Bryn Mawr / Bryn Mawr College website.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-06-23. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-12.

The women's liberal arts college Bryn Mawr, Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, celebrates May Day every year on the Sunday after the last week of classes in the spring semester. The college was established in 1885, but the May Day festival tradition dates from 1900.[1] The photos and other evidence presented below are only a small part of what can be found online, but much of this material is of relatively recent date. Apparently, the Robin Hood play(s) is/are not performed every year.

The event is described as follows on the Bryn Mawr College website:

May Day

All-day celebration that occurs the Sunday after the last week of classes. The entire college community comes together for a day of medieval festivity and a general good time. May Day begins with the seniors rising to go wake the President of the College; followed by class breakfasts. Following breakfast, May Day gets kicked off with a parade that begins at Rockefeller Arch and ends on Merion Green. After the parade, there is Maypole Dancing. Each class gets a Maypole in its class color, and the McBride/Graduate Student Maypole is in the McBride color of purple and the college color of yellow. There are many events throughout the day, including Scottish dancing, Morris dancing, the traditional King Arthur Play, the sophomore class play, the Robin Hood Play, a cappella concerts, various cultural dancing and music displays, and there is always a large concert in the afternoon on the Merion Green. May Day is concluded with the traditional showing of "The Philadelphia Story," starring fellow Mawrter Katharine Hepburn. The last step sing of the year is held on this night.[2]

Quotations

[1906:]
[See the 1906 Bryn Mawr College postcards: "May Day Procession–Robin Hood Band", "Robin Hood", and "The Shepherdesses", on this page.]

[2003:]
[See 2003 photograph on this page.]

[2013:]
9:00 Ye Morris Dancers and ye Points of Etiquette perform in front of Pembroke Arch [...]
9:15 Seniors march to ye Senior Steps to watch the parade.
9:30 Ye Grande Processional with the President of the College, the May Queens, Traditions Mistresses, Song Mistresses, Worthies, and May Pole Dancers [...]
9:45 May Pole Dancing on ye Merion Greene by the four classes and McBride Schollers. Ye President and ye May Queens deliver humorous speeches [...]
10:00 Senior May Roll Hoop Race down ye Senior Row.
11:00 May Hole Dancing on ye Denbigh Greene.
11:30 Scottish Country Dancing on ye Merion Greene [...]
11:30 King Arthur play in ye Taft Garden [...]
12:00-5:00 Traditions sales in front of ye Campus Center [...]
12:00-3:00 Face painting, henna tattoos, caricatures, Personacards, and Roaring 20’s fancy dress photos in front of ye Canaday Library.
12:00 A Capella Concert on ye Carpenter Roof featuring Acabellas, Counterpoint, Lavender’s Blue, Chaverim, Night Owls and Extreme Keys [...]
12:30 Flute Choir performance on ye Campus Center mezzanine.
12:30 Greek Play in ye Sunken Garden [...]
1:00-4:00 Snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, and soft pretzels available in ye Campus Center.
1:00-4:00 Screening of “The Artist” in ye Campus Center main lounge.
1:00-4:00 Inflatable boxing, moon bounce, giant slide, and rock climbing on ye Merion and Denbigh Greenes.
1:00 Rugby Sing-Along on ye Denbigh Greene [...]
1:30 Dance showcase on ye Carpenter Greene with Hula Club, Yalah! Bellydancing, African Dance Troupe and Rince na Mawr [...]
1:30 Ye Olde Robin Hood Play at ye Taft Garden [...]
1:30 We Sing! Gospel Choir performance in ye Thomas Great Hall [...]
2:00-5:00 Concert on ye Merion Green [...]
2:00 Shakespeare Performance Troupe play in ye Taft Garden [...]
2:00 Ye Olde Video Game Club in ye Lusty Cup Cafe
2:30 St. George and the Dragon Play at ye Sunken Garden [...]
7:00 Ye Bryn Mawr Renaissance Choir Concert in Thomas Great Hall.
8:00 The last Step Sing of the year on ye Senior Steps [...]
10:45 Traditional showing of “The Philadelphia Story” starring Katharine Hepburn ’28 on ye Merion Greene [...][3]

[2014:]
From the strawberries and cream in the morning to the evening screening of A Philadelphia Story, May Day 2014 was a huge success.[4]

[2015:]
9:00 Ye Morris Dancers, ye Stilt Walker, and ye Fire Eater perform in front of ye Pembroke Arch.
9:15 Seniors march to ye Senior Steps to watch the Parade.
9:30 Ye Grande Processional with the President of the College, the May Queens, Traditions Mistresses, Songs Mistresses, Worthies, and May Pole Dancers
9:45 May Pole Dancing on ye Merion Greene by the four classes and McBride Schollers. Ye President and ye May Queens deliver humorous speeches. RS: Thomas Great Hall
10:00 Senior May Roll Hoop Race down ye Senior Row
11:00 May Hole Dancing on ye Denbigh Greene
11:00-1:30 A picnic lunch is served on ye Erdman Greene. RS: Erdman Lobby, Living Room, and Dining Rooms
11:30 Scottish Country Dancing on ye Merion Greene. RS: Goodhart Music Room
12:00 A Capella Concert on ye Carpenter Beach featuring Acabellas, Counterpoint, Chaverim, Extreme Keys, Looney Tunes, and Night Owls. RS: Thomas Great Hall
12:00-5:00 Traditions sales in front of ye Campus Center. RS: Campus Center Foyer
12:00-3:00 Face painting, glitter tattoos, and caricatures on ye Merion Greene. RS: The Lusty Cup
1:00 Greek Play in ye Sunken Garden. RS: Dorothy Vernon Room
1:00 Flute Choir Performance in ye Campus Center mezzanine.
1:00-4:00 Snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, and soft pretzels in ye Campus Center Main Lounge
2:00-5:00 Moon bounce and giant slide on ye Merion and Denbigh Greenes
2:00-5:00 May Day Concert on ye Merion Greene
2:30 Archeology Fashion Show in ye Cloisters. RS: Thomas Great Hall
2:30 St. George and the Dragon Play in ye Sunken Garden. RS: Dorothy Vernon Room
3:00 Karaoke on ye Carpenter Beach.
3:00 Rugby Sing-Along on ye Pembroke East Greene. RS: Denbigh Living Room
4:30-7:00 May Day dinner on ye Erdman Greene. RS: Erdman Lobby, Living Room, and Dining Rooms
7:00 Bryn Mawr Renaissance Choir in ye Thomas Great Hall.
8:00 The last Step Sing of the year on ye Senior Steps. RS: Thomas Great Hall
10:45 Traditional Showing of “The Philadelphia Story” starring Katharine Hepburn ’28 in ye Thomas 110[5]

Sources

Discussion

Postcards

Photos

Background

Notes