(twenty four) or lantern night

Lantern Night is one of my favorite Bryn Mawr Traditions. I remember my freshmen year being so magical. I remember walking through the hallways of Thomas, my black robe getting caught behind me with every other step. It was silent, and dark, except for the glowing faces of upperclassmen illuminated by their lanterns, who smiled at me as I passed. Some whispered things like “Welcome Home” and “Happy Lantern Night” as I crept closer and closer to the cloisters. When I reached the outdoors, I was met with bitter cold and silence as I’ve never heard. It was the kind of silence where if you closed your eyes you knew people were surrounding you, but you couldn’t hear them. My first thought was “Wow, they really weren’t kidding about this cult stuff.” But I was excited, and it was so beautiful, and I just wanted to look around and take it all in.

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This year wasn’t much different in the sense of me wanting to take it all in. It’s my last year, and I wanted to look around and really get a good feeling of how it would all end. Realistically, this will be my last lantern night ever. Ever! I’ve been able to experience all the ‘stages’ of lantern night – getting my lantern (freshman year), running (sophomore year), watching (junior year), and swinging (senior year). I was really excited to swing this year, because all of my best friends were doing it as well. I’m really happy I got to share this experience with them.

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My job as swinger meant that I had to swing my lantern in time to the Pallas Athena, and sing it about a zillion times with other juniors/seniors. During the Pallas, runners run the lanterns to the first years and distribute them. This takes quite a bit of time, so after about ten minutes of swinging my lantern and singing, I felt like my hand was going to fall off. I totally caught myself slacking off, but I jerked myself back into it by reminding myself that someone my first year had done the very same thing for me, and it’s only fair that I pay it forward.

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Lantern Night was beautiful this year, even though the class of 2020 totally butchered the Sophias. It was pretty funny actually- regardless you all did so good! And I’m so proud of you and happy to welcome you all home. Every class year has little slip ups when they sing the Sophias, so just know that in four years time, you will be able to recite the greek adequately enough to fool any non-classics major on your pronunciation.

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Even though I skipped step sing (sorry! I was exhausted!! and emotionally drained!!) I had such a nice night. It felt weird without Pam being there, but I think it was symbolic of some sort of circular closing motion. Regardless, I’m leaving this tradition behind with the way I started it- into the dark with the light of my lantern.

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