ahh raisin.

so you read all about the traditions associated with academic families, but the true reason you need an academic family here at st. andrews is for raisin week-end. because being adopted and joining part of a family finds its ultimate purpose in raisin sunday and raisin monday.

what happens on raisin sunday? allow me to explain:

the world turns upside down.

ok, maybe thats not the right way to say it. lets put it another way…

the world literally turns upside down.

on raisin sunday, as children, you are under the total control of your parents. and all parents here are on the same mission: to give their kids a day they will never forget (but are unlikely to remember).

the tradition holds that you go to your mom’s house in the morning and your dad’s at night. sounds lovely right? well, in essence thats what happens, but its a little bit more intense than that. it all depends on your parents, but…

some dads go into the residences and personally wake up their kids in bed (with a shot of whisky at six in the morning)

some dads invite you over and make you breakfast and you can have anything on their menu! (but you have to pay for whatever you have in proportion– one shot? one strip of bacon.)

some dads start they day off with a fun round of games (deal or no deal: pick a box, see whats underneath, drink up, or go for the mystery box and take your chances)

and moms arent much better…

some host a tea party (with vodka in the teapot)

some take you out to the beach (and force you in the sea)

some encourage you to get along with your brothers and sisters (by tying you all together)

regardless of what the activity might be, when they invite you over, you have to go over. some parents will be kind and let you know the day before what time they expect you; others just send you a little text… “my house in 5 or pay in shots for every minute you’re late”. and of course, regardless of having set a time, they can always change their mind… “change of plans, we meet at 3. punishment if you’re late”

and all the activities are really creative.

some parents tell their kids to meet them at the beach in togas only to find out they’re competing against another family at beach olympics (with laurel crowns for the winners). others send their kids off on scavenger hunts around town (“build a 10 person pyramid in tesco”, “take a picture with a person over eighty”, “buy twenty cauliflowers and one grape”). others hire bouncy castles and set them up in their yards.

all around town crazy things start to happen, so when you see someone in front of you at the supermarket getting down on one knee and proposing to the cashier you dont really pay too much attention, mostly because across the road someone will be sitting contentedly up in the fountain and you’re often a bit more entranced by the thought of how they got up or how they’ll get down.

and if you think raisin sunday sounds like fun, let me tell you all about raisin monday.

on raisin monday you start off they day with a breakfast of champions (because if you’ve made it to breakfast, it means you’ve survived). and then after breakfast its off to your moms to get dressed.

yup, on raisin monday your mom has full say of what you wear. guaranteed itll be something ridiculous– especially since all the other moms are watching and she’ll want to impress.

smurfs, teletubbies, the jamaican bobsled team…you name it.

then its off to your dads to get your raisin receipt– a gift of their absolute choice which has to bear a traditional latin inscription.

so, once dressed and gifted, its off to st. salvators quad for a foam fight (the biggest, most wonderful shaving foam fight in a six-hundred year old university you will ever have).

but wait a second…what do you think? that you’ll just casually stroll along in a silly outfit with a lovely gift in your hand to the fight? have all the other stories taught you nothing?

no, no, no.

on your way down north street towards st. salvators quad you can fully expect to see people dressed as animals, in rows of two, carrying an ark. or a family of children dressed as dogs, tied together into formation, pulling their parents on a sled. or a person trying to manage pulling a piano.

wait a minute, did i say keyboard?

i didn’t think so.


what was my dads receipt? not as creative as those i’m afraid. he cling-wraped our family together and inscribed us with the latin phrase. it was odd that being in the middle of the wide sidewalk he should have asked us to move back a little bit…we weren’t blocking anyone…and then the answer came why. his flatmates made us look up at the same time they let buckets of water pour down on us.

ah but that’s raisin.

and it is SO much fun.

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