If you take a tour of our campus, a reoccurring theme will be the emphasis on tradition at the College. With such a rich and long history, William & Mary truly takes pride in its yearly customs. Participating in the same ceremonies as so many students who have come before me makes my connection to the College even stronger.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to pick favorites amidst so many traditions, but the Yule Log Ceremony is at the top of my list. Each year at the end of the fall semester, students gather in the Wren courtyard to usher in the holiday season and take a much needed break from studying for finals. At the event, students are given a holly branch upon their arrival that would later be thrown onto the burning yule log in the Wren Great Hall. The area is illuminated by torches that are scattered throughout the courtyard. It begins with representatives from cultural and religious groups on campus reading the various holiday stories. The Vice President of Student Affairs also shares a poem entitled “‘Twas the Night Before Finals”. Then the President of the College, clad in a Santa Claus costume, reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas to the student body. The presidents of the two honor societies that sponsor the event, Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), speak as well.
As president of ODK, it was my job to explain the history of the Yule Log right after President Reveley left the stage which was definitely a tough act to follow. I explained how the log was at one time burned throughout the 12 days of Christmas and shared that the tradition was started at W&M back in 1930 (despite some changes since then). It was so strange–and at the same time really neat–standing at the podium and seeing the Yule Log tradition from a “behind-the-scenes” perspective.
Check out a video from Yule Log!
Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is a society of juniors and seniors of the College who are honored for their superior scholarship, outstanding leadership, and exemplary character.