Pledging a sorority

The informant is California-born Chinese American. She has lived in California all her life. She wanted to be in a sorority all her life that it was the first thing she did when she came to USC.  She is 21 years old. She is currently a business student at USC.

Informant: “Each of the new members gets a candle, and the ‘pledge moms’ light it as a symbol that they have accepted the new class into the sorority. The pledge moms are the connection between the new members and the actives. After the candles are lighted, the new members are fully crossed as active members.”

“I felt super relieved during the ritual, because this was the last step of sorority pledging. The candles too made me so relieved. Lighted candles were so pretty that by just looking at them, I felt happy and relaxed. It was a good ending to the somewhat difficult pledging process. Also, the candles definitely gave sense of a ‘ritual.’ I felt like I was really becoming a part of their family, not only by words. “

“Crossing into a sorority is a big thing. It’s so special because it’s something that you only experience once in lifetime. Of course, you will do many activities as a member of the sorority, but pledging is done only once. And it’s a time all focuses are on you. It still remains as one of my most special memories.”

Most sororities and their sorority pledging by lighting the candles. It creates a serene, somewhat holy atmosphere. It resembles ceremonies done at church. Both carry similar connotation. Ceremonies done at church celebrates someone into the household of God. This candle lighting ceremony celebrates the new members as sisters.