Want to joust this Carnival?

As the 100th annual Carnival arrives with a bang, many on campus are looking back into the history of the legendary event. The Spring Carnival Committee, headed by senior statistics major Emily Hrin and senior lighting design major Jackson Gallagher, in particular is bringing back an assortment of historical traditions from the early years of Carnival.

In researching the history of Carnival, which is recognized by most Carnegie Mellon students as the best weekend of the academic year, Gallagher became interested in the traditions of years past. The two that piqued his interest were plank jousting and the class chain tradition.

Plank Jousting

Plank jousting was a large part of Carnival from 1947 to the early 1980s. It involves laying a plank of wood across a pit of mud, and then having teams of about five people hit each other with pillows while balancing on the plank. The goal is to knock the opposing team into the mud below. According to Gallagher, the mud pit for the event will be created in the grassy area near the path by WQED off the Morewood parking lot. Teams can sign up to participate on the spot, with no preregistration needed, and hopefully for free, if feasible. If enough teams sign up for the event, the committee plans to have a tournament.

Class Chain

The second tradition that the Committee plans to revive is the class chain.
From the years 1914–1942, each class forged a link of a chain and then stamped it with their class year. When World War I started, however, the tradition was discontinued. This year, the chain will come out of the archives, where it has been stored for years, and, after nearly 70 years, be added to once again.

Not only will the class of 2014 be adding a link to the chain, but the Carnival Committee will also be sponsoring the forging of links for every missing class as well.

“Emily and I will be stamping our year into the chain,” Gallagher said. Alumni from every year have been invited back and will hopefully be available to stamp their year into the chain. Gallagher and Hrin hope that this tradition that will continue into future years as well.

“We’ve also arranged a ‘history of Carnival’ museum-type exhibit that will be open during UC operation hours containing memorabilia from Carnivals past,” said Hrin.

At the 100-year landmark, Carnival is thriving, and students should take this opportunity to revisit the history of the event while enjoying it for themselves.