Dartmouth College Festival

“Winter carnival: the ‘big’ weekend of winter term at Dartmouth. It is a weekend that centers on ski races and tradition. The Dartmouth alpine and Nordic ski teams host the carnival and compete against the other teams from the EISA (eastern intercollegiate ski association). They then celebrate their accomplishments at ski-team-only parties and special events. Non-skiers celebrate the weekend as well, in several ways: students build the traditional snow sculpture at the center of the Green; partake in the Polar Bear Swim (which entails taking a plunge into the frozen Occom Pond). Other events include the human dog sled race and the Carni Classic (a Nordic ski race which requires that participants dress in ‘flair’–ridiculous, colorful, tacky clothing).This year is the 100 year anniversary of this carnival. I love this weekend because of its many traditions and because it’s centered on celebrating a season that it usually tough to bear in Hanover, NH.”

I’ve spoken to my sister about this festival many times over the years since she first enrolled in Dartmouth College, and every time I notice the pride in her voice. She loves Dartmouth College and with it all of the traditions that come with being a student there. For obvious reasons, this festival could not occur in a southern California university such as USC. However it does make me think of the difference between the “tradition issues” of those two colleges and why it is much more celebrated in Dartmouth. In my opinion there are two main reasons, one of them being the amount of time each college has exited. Dartmouth was established in 1769, while USC only dates back to 1880.The other reason can be related to the difference between the East and the West coasts, the first one being a more “traditional” one by nature, especially the old ‘New England’ part, where Dartmouth is located. What attracts me about the weekend is how the non-skiers celebrate; I’ve seen pictures of snow sculpture and each year it gets more and more magnificent! At USC we have our football traditions, however, even though every football game is a massive celebration, there is no one specific weekend with activities oriented around celebrating the sport. I think that USC emphasizes football almost to an extreme, but we don’t celebrate the sport itself we solely celebrate our team’s talent. Perhaps these two traditions are not even comparable, as Dartmouth “Winter Carnival” is much above being about sport; it is rather about winter spirit in one of the coldest areas of the USA.

Dartmouth Winter Carnival is mentioned in a fairly known book about F Scot Fitzgerlad. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, Jackson R. Bryer, Alan Margolies, and Ruth Prigozy. F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives. Athens, GA: University of Georgia, 2000. 4-10. Print.