House Traditions: Secret or Otherwise

How is it that the houses of our school contrast so much, yet all have a common goal? Much like how the states of Kentucky and California both have flavors that shape their image while still being united together, the houses are united under King’s but separated in reputation. Everything from peer-to-peer interaction to House Competition standings influence how houses see each other, but what differentiates the houses more than anything else are their traditions. Some houses are blatant in their annual initiation processes.

The House of Reagan prides itself in having written a supplementary honor code that can be pledged at their weekend initiation retreat, which happens after what they call “Hell Week.”  During Hell Week, first years are forbidden to look upperclassmen in the eye, must ask the professor’s permission before sitting in class and must have a golf ball that symbolizes their honor in their hand at all times.

The House of Thatcher dresses up its first-years in exaggerated makeup and gray hair (to resemble their namesake) and makes them stroll around the city while shouting their mission statement in British accents.  They quote Margaret Thatcher in front of an audience of Reagan men until both the men and older Thatcher ladies are satisfied.

But the traditions don’t end when the first few weeks pass and all of the terrified freshmen are fully initiated. There are many traditions that are being reinstated as the Class of 2015 joins King’s.

Traditions unique to the House of Churchtill include Bow-tie Tuesday, which is exactly what it sounds like; Thurs-chill, which is a simple male bonding time each Thursday; and Meat Night, which is celebrated for special occasions or victories.

Queen Elizabeth I members joked that their tradition was to win the Basketball Competition, something their house has done for the past five years.

Members of the House of Barton yell in deep voices whenever they are celebrating. Toughness is a quality they strive for, which makes it even stranger that freshmen members are referred to as “babies” whenever their attention is needed.

The newest house, Corrie ten Boom, hosts an annual Swing Dance with Bonhoeffer, "which is always a huge hit," President Clara Limback said. Ten Boom also throws a special end of the year dinner called Feest (Dutch for feast or party) to celebrate the year, honor their members and remember their namesake.

Susan B. Anthony ladies sometimes wear black clothes and pearls on Mondays.

These are a few examples of the contrasts among houses, but there are many mutual traditions as well. In the past, the women’s houses have come together for Chocolate and Chick-flicks, a movie night held every year before Valentine’s Day. Every male house has a signifying accessory: Lewis sports a tie with the house crest, Churchill wears a bow tie with their crest, Bonhoeffer has a crest pin for suits, and Reagan wears a crested blue blazer.

Maybe with some innovation, the houses will create new traditions. Only the year will tell.

MiscNathan Deardorff