May Day, the fourth and final of Bryn Mawr’s major traditions, is an all-day celebration that includes a strawberries and cream breakfast, Maypole dancing, dancing, plays, parades, and so much more. Taking place on the Sunday after the last week of classes, the Bryn Mawr community comes together to celebrate another successful year before heading into finals week.
Senior Celine Chen and first-year Andrea Lirio shared their May Day experiences with us.
Q: What were your expectations for May Day?
Celine: I was really excited for May Day since it’s probably my favorite tradition at Bryn Mawr. I was really looking forward to taking the day to hang out with my friends and completely take a break from school work. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast, but I expected to enjoy all the fun activities like taking photos, watching performances, and getting free swag! I also expected to feel a bit nostalgic that this would be my last May Day as an undergraduate student at Bryn Mawr, and all the events, and traditions I had experienced in previous years were finally coming to end.
Andrea: I was really looking forward to May Day, especially as it was my first one! I didn’t know what to expect exactly. My peers and I knew there would be a parade, maypoles, and more fun activities, but it’s one thing to know what’s going to happen on the schedule versus experiencing it. It’s amazing to think about how many Bryn Mawr students have celebrated May Day through the years. The week leading up to the event was super exciting with cute hints in our mailbox and making flower crowns.
Q: What was your favorite part of May Day?
Celine: I was pretty tired because the day is always jammed packed with various activities, but I also felt a bit nostalgic. Since May Day is the last tradition of the year, it’s also the last step sing of my undergraduate career. Step sing is such a unique Bryn Mawr tradition, and it’s a fun way of bonding your peers. It was really bittersweet that this was my last step sing ever and Bryn Mawr tradition ever!
Andrea: I loved the event and the week leading up to it! Although it rained all day, everyone still had an amazing time. It was quite a tiring day full of delicious food, fun traditions, and photo taking. I’m so grateful for all the memories I was able to make with friends from running in the rain to eating our strawberries and cream to making our flower crowns the night before. I was also amazed to find cute May Day gifts outside of my room from graduating seniors, which have been passed down from different years. The event was definitely an amazing end to such a great first year.
Q: How did you feel after May Day?
Celine: It’s so hard to pick a favorite part, but I’d have to say strawberries and cream for breakfast and the guest performer. I love any excuse to eat strawberries, but there is always something so special about having your first strawberry of the year at Bryn Mawr the morning of May Day to welcome in warm weather.
The May Day performances are also always so fun! It’s basically a free concert with amazing artists such as Tierra Whack (2019) and Khalid (2017)!
Andrea: I would say my favorite part of May Day was just getting to spend time with friends doing all of the activities on the schedule. We were able to spend time together all year, but May Day was the day we could just have fun and de-stress. My second favorite was probably receiving May Day gifts in the morning. It’s such an amazing surprise. Can you imagine how many other students have participated in the tradition? Thousands of Mawrters have passed down gifts welcoming each generation home. It’s such an amazingly beautiful sentiment and tradition that I’m grateful to be a part of. It’s also such a sad part of the year because it means seniors you’ve gotten to know through the year are about to say goodbye. While they’re move on to amazing things post-college, it’s sad to say goodbye to such amazing mentors and friends.
Q: What role do you think May Day plays in the Bryn Mawr community?
Celine: May Day is a tradition that welcomes spring, celebrates the end of classes (and end of the school year), as well as a tradition to say good bye to the seniors. The day is full of activities like dancing, parades, performances, snacks, photo booths, and a concert with a guest performer and DJ! It is also a tradition that many recent alums will come back for. This May Day, one of my friends from the Class of 2018 came to visit for May Day!
Not only is May Day for students, but it is also for staff and faculty, you’ll often see faculty in the May Day parade, and faculty and their families participate in the various activities on campus.
Andrea: May Day serves as a great way to end the year. It’s also a beautiful way to say goodbye to graduating seniors. The day is simply to get the community together through fun activities, traditions, music, and more. It’s a chance for students to celebrate their successes through the year and relax before taking finals. It’s amazing to see everyone from professors and staff to students participating in May Day celebrations. May Day is a great way to celebrate the amazingly connected and supportive community.
Check out more photos from May Day 2019.