Last night I was having a look through my old photos (so old they’ve been scanned into iPhoto) and came across one which I wanted to share. That’s me in the middle when I was much much younger.
It was taken whilst I was at the University of St Andrews where I spent five happy years. One of the odder traditions was the concept of an academic family where a first year was adopted by an academic mother and academic father (usually in their third or fourth year). Like most traditions it’s historic meaning has been lost and now it’s an excuse to get drunk and have a foam fight.
On Raisin Sunday, first years spend the day with their academic parents. A tea party is held by the mother at which tea (and alcohol) is consumed. The evening is spent drinking more alcohol with the father. The first year is expected to give them each a bottle of wine which is the modern equivalent of a pound of raisins.
The following day (Raisin Monday) you get dressed up by your parents and are presented with your Raisin Receipt written in Latin. Mine was written on the lid of a pizza box, as you can see one of my academic brothers had his receipt written on a sink! Academic mothers give each of their children “Raisin Strings” with a small gift attached which is supposed to reflect the personality of the child and gets tied to your scarlet gown.
After all this largesse, you are paraded through the town to St Salvator’s quad where a foam fight takes place between 11 and 12. You then walk home to queue for the showers and sleep. Silly but a lot of fun.