Tonight is the 70th annual Boar’s Head dinner, and if you have been wondering if in fact there will actually be a boar’s head at the feast, ponder no more. Indeed, there will be a head – and it carries a lot of tradition.
The story goes that a Medieval student was off reading in the woods when he encountered a wild boar. In a moment of bravery, the student shoved his book – a work by Aristotle – down the throat of the boar. The boar choked, and the student brought it back to campus where it was cooked and enjoyed by all.
For many years, students – most often Greeks – used to fight over the boar’s head, and this began to grow out of control. In response, Vice President Burgett banned the appearance of the head at the dinner in 1992. Later on, a fraternity contacted Burgett and asked permission to have their own head at their table. Burgett agreed, and during the course of the dinner, a sorority approached him and asked if they could share the head, and thus the passing of the boar began.
The head is now a real, cooked one, but for many years was cut out of styrofoam.
The passing of the boar has become a tradition during the Boar’s Head dinner. In 1996, Delta Upsilon requested that they pass the boar’s head to a student organization, and they chose the Social Activities Board, the precursor to the Campus Activities Board. According to the Boar’s Head Dinner Chairperson and sophomore Mona Koda, CAB has no role in choosing the group to which it is passed and it is kept secret until the night of the feast. The boar’s head can be passed to any student group – the group does not have to be recognized by the Student’s Association.
This year, there will be a plaque naming the groups to which the head is passed. Sponsored by the Deans of the College, the plaque will be mounted somewhere in Wilson Commons.