The Evolution of Spring Break

 

There’s nothing like when the snow begins to melt, the flowers start to bloom and the weather gets a little warmer. Spring is the best time of year to trade your parka for a bikini, or your beanie for some board shorts. That being said, the most iconic tradition in spring for college students would arguably be Spring Break. That’s right, a full week of complete drunkenness, exploration into new territory, and of course creation of the best nights you won’t be able to remember

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But, we all love this Spring Break tradition, but have you ever stopped to wonder where it came from? As previously stated spring has been welcomed with open arms for ages, even by ancient Greeks and Romans who would rally in the streets to celebrate Anthestreria. A festival celebrating Dionysus, the god of wine and any excuse to party, lasted three days, people would dance through the streets , singers would serenade the crowds, women would cover themselves in beautiful flowers and Greek men would have wine chugging contests in the street (times really don’t change all that much).
But with that being said, what event’s occurred that truly made spring break a tradition that we still celebrate today? Well, the first occasion being in 1928 Fort Lauderdale opened its first Olympic sized swimming pool. This may not sound revolutionary, but at its time, it really was. The opening of this pool brought competitive swimmers to Fort Lauderdale when they had breaks from classes. Shortly thereafter, crowds of collegiate athletes were coming into the city to the College Coaches’ Swim Forum. By the mid-60’s word had caught on and the fun had begun for even those who were not top ranking swimmers, just those who were looking for a good time.
In 1958 a Michigan State University English professor, Glendon Swarthout, went down to Florida to check out what all the rage was about spring break. He took his observances and wrote the novel Where The Boys Are, following four college girls who go to Florida for spring break to meet boys and later receive the repercussions of their actions that reflect the views of that particular era. A year later in 1960, MGM released the film Where The Boys Are which resulted in an astounding 50,000 students showing up to Fort Lauderdale the following year to celebrate spring break.
So there ya have it folks, for those of you who have been curious about the long lasting tradition of spring break now you know! Now you can officially go about your spring break knowing it’s just your way to keep traditions alive.

 

Written by: Cayley Brandon