This is another collection from a Greek friend who offered to tell me about a ritual involved in their initiation week. I asked what his favorite one was and here is what he had to say.
Informant: Every semester we initiate a new group of pledges and we have a whole bunch of traditions and shit that go on during the last week but my favorite is the Malibu Cave. It always happens the first week of pledge semester and the morning before they finish before the sun rises. We take the pledges out to Malibu and hike them through the hills until we come to this cave that looks out over this amazing view. It’s like a valley sorta that goes all the way down to the ocean. Usually when we get there the clouds are at our level and they clear as the sun comes out. It’s really sick. Then we sit around and listen to music and the pledges reflect on the semester.
Me: What kind of reflection do you mean?
Informant: Umm pledging isn’t exactly the easiest thing and there are lots of memories and close relationships formed throughout the process so I guess we just talk about the semester, I don’t know you’d have to be there.
Me: Why this cave? Does it mean something to your fraternity?
Informant: Fuck if I know, it’s a sick cave and someone probably just heard of it a long time ago and decided to take the pledges there. And it does now, it like sorta symbolizes the end of pledging because that’s where they first started the semester and now they came full circle.
After hearing this recount of this fraternity tradition I realized just how much the pledge semester brings a group of guys together, who previously had not known each other. My informant didn’t know why or how this cave became a customary tradition for initiation but it clearly became very symbolic and meaningful for the members over time.