The Boar's Head Banquet originally started at Queens College, Oxford more than 500 years ago. It jumped the Atlantic Ocean in 1933 when a beloved Latin teacher, Alma Edwards, introduced the tradition to Queens.
"It's great to see this tradition still going on; it's so much fun to attend!" said sophomore Lauren Monday, '15.
According to the legend of the first dinner, "An Oxford student, deeply bent over his volume of Aristotle, was wandering near Shotover Hill when he was attacked by a wild boar. By way of defense, he shoved his book down the animal's throat and choked the beast to death." The annual feast has been celebrated at Oxford ever since.
Here at Queens the Boar's Head Banquet helps ring in the holiday season. Typically scheduled between Thanksgiving break and finals, the feast begins with a procession of singers, dancers, special guests, and President Pamela Davies and her family. The procession ends with a telling of the Boar's Head story, the grand entrance of the actual boar heads, and a royal welcome from Dr. Davies.
Members of the senior honor society, Mortar Board, are given the honor of participating in the procession. According to senior Jacklin Akrivos '13, "Boar's Head is a tradition that I had wanted to participate in since my freshman year. Carrying the fruit bowl really will be one of my favorite memories from Queens!"
Added senior Melani Bergen '13, "We wait all four years of college to get to this unique experience and I am so grateful we get to be so involved. I really enjoyed the set up this year; it was a great way to end my last semester at Queens."
Students, faculty and staff dress in Renaissance garb, in keeping with the origins of the evening. Guests are entertained by the Chamber Singers, the Dance Club, and this year, even an Irish tin whistle soloist, Rose O'Toole.
The event concludes with a Yule Log Ceremony at the fire pit on the residential quad. Each year, two surprise faculty or staff members enter the dining hall in their Renaissance attire, presenting the Yule logs to the head tables. All the guests receive a sprig of holly and then make their way to a bonfire to sing Christmas carols.
"When you rub your sprig of green on the Yule logs and cast them into the fire, you've banished the woes of the year forever," said Amber Perrell, director of student activities.