A Day in Lawrence History: February 28, a part-y of Lawrence history

In most years, Feb. 28 marks the end of the shortest month of the year. This year, of course, we have a leap year, and thus, a leap day: Feb. 29, “a great night for the weaker sex,” according to the 1925 Ariel (the old Lawrence Yearbook). Now, every four years for the past 173 years, Lawrentians have suffered through a winter term made one day longer by the genius who decided to add a day to the February. But how, exactly, have we survived the dead of winter, where all the trees are dead and no one’s seen the sun in months? Well, in a word, by partying. This year, Beta Theta Pi is “Going Bananas,” and is acquiring more than 200 pounds of bananas for some unknown reason. In years past, Lawrentians have always seemed to find a way to party near the end of February or beginning of March. Here are some of my favorite examples:

1877: The YMCA at Lawrence is founded! Finally, young men have no need to feel down. They can get their feet off the ground, even in a new town. There is no need to be unhappy.

1904: Ormsby Hall Party. I do not know why we don’t have more parties in Ormsby, especially because this particular one gave out laurels. With all the high ceilings, it would be quite a challenge to “raise the roof.” 

1947: Beta Gay Nineties Party! Beta at it again with the iconic themes, proving that you can have a nineties themes party in any century. Personally, I would like the next Beta party to be Gay Nineties themed. I think many students on campus would have excellent costume ideas. 

Also 1947: Phi Kappa Tau’s annual Apache Brawl party. I think I am quite okay with leaving this one in the past.

1965: Lawrence’s first Winter Formal! The theme was “Blues in the Night,” and the event was held off-campus from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.  Nowadays, we have the Presidents Ball, which has a much cooler name, even if the function is the same. I am glad someone along the way decided that a ball sounded so much nicer than a formal. It makes me feel like I can be Cinderella for a night, but, like, without the indentured servitude. 

2014: Mardi Gras! Although I am not Catholic, and I had no idea until last year that Mardi Gras was even related to Catholicism, I am always a fan of holidays based purely around eating junk food. 

Listen, at this point in the year, we have been in winter for way too long, and we are so close to the freedom of spring break that it is no surprise that Lawrentians need some way to blow off steam. While some of these traditions can, and should, stay in the past, it is a true mark of character that Lawrentians always seem to throw ridiculous parties at the end of Spring Term. I just hope the bananas don’t get too mushy from people dancing on them.

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