For a variety of reasons I was contemplating the tradition of Hobo Days at South Dakota State University. It has been going on since 1912, apparently, and involves festivities in conjunction with Homecoming. There are parades and contests, such as the six month competitions for beard growing (for the men) and leg-hair growing (for the women), a parade featuring a 1912 Ford, and people dressed up like Hobos (mainly the men) and “Hippie Chicks” (mainly the women). The women used to dress up like “Indian Maidens”. That was eventually deemed offensive, so the women were recast as Hippies. I wonder how former Hippie women feel about it?
I believe that university staff look on the tradition with mixed feelings. It certainly promotes school spirit and cohesiveness. It is also a time of heavy drinking and all the problems that brings, and also glorifies homelessness.
I think I am pretty anti-tradition when it comes to festivities like Hobo Days, but I must admit changes to my comforting and familiar Lutheran liturgy are upsetting. Change is hard. Finding new traditions isn’t easy.
What traditions do you cling to? What traditions would you like to see end? What new traditions would you like to see?