7 Sister Traditions for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month this March, I wanted to celebrate by providing insight into one of the strongest, historically collective groups of institutions run by powerful women: the Seven Sisters! As a Bryn Mawr student, our sense of community is driven by our traditions — Lantern Night, May Day, Welcome the First Years Week, and Parade Night to name a few. In expanding our appreciation for these historically women’s institutions in light of Women's History Month, I would like to share some traditions that our fellow Seven Sisters take part in. These traditions are grounded in history, and history is the key focus for this month.

  1. 1. Wellesley: Flower Sunday 

    At Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, students participate in Flower Sunday on the first Sunday of the school year to alleviate homesickness. This is similar to the use of flower crowns on May Day at Bryn Mawr. The celebration incorporates dancing and singing. A beautiful way to ring in a new school year — with flowers!

  2. 2. Mount Holyoke: Mountain Day

    The oldest tradition at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts beginning in 1838, students travel to Summit House on the peak of Mt. Holyoke to embrace the power of exercise and fitness. Students receive ice cream when they reach the top of the mountain! It is a spontaneous tradition in which students do not know what day it will be following Convocation in the fall and all classes are canceled for the day. Nothing like a day where you wake up early and run in the mountains! 

  3. 3. Smith College: Ivy Day

    At Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, alumnae meet up with students on the day prior to commencement and parade around campus while students wear white dresses and carry roses. Students place an ivy plant in the ground to literally ground themselves in the campus before becoming graduates who are moving into the world.

  4. 4. Barnard College: Midnight Breakfast

    At midnight the night prior to finals, the Barnard College staff serves breakfast to students to re-energize them and de-stress. We all need a bit of pep in our step the night before finals! Gathering with friends the night before exams helps students feel part of an academic community grounded in study and rigorous work ethic, but one that also loves fun.

  5. 5. Vassar College: Rose & Gray College Colors

    In 1868, the Vassar College school colors became rose and gray to symbolize “the rose of sunlight breaking through the gray of women's intellectual life.” Eventually, when the college went co-ed, their college color morphed into maroon. The Seven Sisters served as a light of hope for women and a new perspective, one from rose-colored glasses.