Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 63-64: Raisin Weekend

If you’re my friend on facebook, you might have seen photos like this floating around:

As my mom commented: “Looks like something straight out of a horror movie.”

Thanks, mom. :)

It’s no horror movie, it’s Raisin weekend. Quite possibly the most bizarre experience of my life. Full of parties, scavenger hunts, team challenges, crazy costumes, and shaving foam, there really isn’t anything else like it.

I’m not quite sure how to start describing Raisin. I guess it kinda begins with the idea of academic families, which is where third years ‘adopt’ first years as their kids. As an exchange student, I also got adopted by third years (which is slightly odd, since they’re both younger than me, haha). Here are my lovely parents:

The cool thing about getting adopted means that you don’t just get parents, but you also get brothers and sisters, and possibly even step-siblings or parents. For instance, parents normally adopt separately (not in couples) but my mom adopted a few people with a specific guy, making that guy her academic “husband,” so he’s my stepfather and his kids are my stepbrothers.

My mum's family (the orange team!)
I don’t know if any of that explanation made sense, but if not, then that’s okay. It’s confusing enough here, where everyone knows what’s going on. If I casually mention that I had coffee with my mom the other day, everyone starts wondering if my real mom actually came all the way from Canada.
Playing chubby bunny...

Alrighty: this past weekend was Raisin weekend, which is when all the academic families party together. Apparently the tradition began years back, when fathers would take their children on a tour of the pubs, and in return the kids would give their fathers raisins to brighten up their bland student diet. Now the tour of the pubs is normally a party at the father’s house, and the raisins are usually wine.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon at a party with my mom’s side of the family. Three mothers had their party together, so we had lots of inter-family challenges, like a scavenger hunt where we had to take photos all over St. Andrew’s, like this lovely shot from the top of St. Rule’s tower:

One of the rules of the scavenger hunt was that someone had to be carried the entire time… Guess who that was?

We played a bunch of other games at the house, like the cereal box challenge where you have to pick up a cereal box in your teeth with only your feet touching the ground. It’s not terribly difficult at the beginning, but then you start ripping strips off the box until there’s basically nothing left…

Tessa (my sister) looks so elegant trying to pick up the cereal box.
My method is somewhat less elegant, but it worked well.
After my mother’s party, I headed to my dad’s, where we had a lovely dinner and played a bunch of fun games, like smashing the piñata or building the tallest sculpture out of marshmallows and pasta. I also tried Cider, which here is alcoholic and tastes a bit like beer (which I hate) but the kind of cider I had was really fruity, so it was much more like pop.

Winning sculpture!
Twister (the extra plates on the sides had challenges)
Me and my bros (and dad)
Bright and early Monday morning we were up to prepare for the real fun of Raisin: the foam fight. First, all the kids go to their mum’s houses and get dressed up: my mum dressed us all up as biscuits! (I’m the oreo)
Biscuits. :)

Then, once you’re in costume, you walk to your dad’s house where he gives you the Raisin receipt. The idea of the receipt was originally to testify that you were a good child and you gave him wine like you were supposed to, but now the receipts are basically whatever huge object the father can find to force his children to carry around. In my case, our receipt was an entire paddling pool with slush and rubber ducks! We had to tote this all the way up to Sally’s quad, which took us nearly half an hour (thanks, Dad…)

My bros, dad, and the raisin receipt
Once at the quad, you toss your receipt in one of the dumpsters (such a waste… but I saved one rubber duck!) and enter the foam fight. Apparently the fight comes out of a tradition where if you didn’t have your receipt, you’d be dunked in the fountain, or some such madness. Now, it just means that all the freshers get cans of shaving foam which they proceed to spray on everyone else until the entire quad, and everyone in it, is completely covered in white. Need some evidence? Check out this BBC gallery.

And that, my friends, is Raisin, in all of its St. Andrews madness. There’s really nothing that’s odder, or more archetypically St. Andrew’s than a weekend of parties, crazy challenges, and shaving foam.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Rachel that looks & sounds like a TON of fun! :) It really encourages community building within the school....that's so great!!