The informant went to high school in New York. It was a large public school that was not necessarily rampant with rebellion, but the large number of students often made it hard for the faculty to control them. Controversial, student-organized gatherings and events were somewhat common.
Freshman Friday is usually the first Friday of the school year at the informant’s high school. It was supposed to be the day when the upperclassmen would bully the freshmen by putting them in trashcans, hitting them with newspapers, pouring condiments on them, etc. However, during the informant’s time in high school, it was more of a legend than a tradition. This is because there never was any real organized harassment on that Friday, either because the teachers were on high alert or because the upperclassmen never planned on following through. Even so, every year during the days leading up to that Friday, the students fervently discuss what will happen. The informant recalls believing wholeheartedly in these rumors when he first entered high school.
This is another liminal or transition tradition. It is intriguing because it is really a faux-tradition. It is never actually practiced; any bullying or hazing on that day while the informant was in school were isolated incidents. Yet the day is acknowledged and widely discussed annually without fail. Once the freshmen get through the day and realize that nothing bad really happens, they are now let in on the joke. They can now look forward to scaring all the freshmen next year with stories of how horrible the day is.