On Thursday, Dec. 2, Feldman Ballroom transformed into an English great hall for a couple of hours for the 86th annual Boar’s Head Dinner.
The first Boar’s Head Dinner took place in 1934 in the Men’s College of the University. Traditionally a holiday feast, the dinner involves caroling, Christmas-themed meals, and the procession of the boar’s head being awarded to the best student group on campus.
The annual dinner was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year, to curb the spread of the virus, only 250 tickets were sold instead of the usual 500. Instead of the usual communal long tables headed by a faculty host, there were round tables and no hosts. The dinner was served buffet-style, instead of student servers from various a cappella and performance groups hand-delivering each course.
The National Society of Black Engineers, the 2019 recipient of the Boar’s Head Award, handed the award to the Pan African Student Association in a tradition referred to as the Passing of the Boar. Until 1996, the award had been given primarily to greek life organizations, until Delta Upsilon broke tradition by awarding it to the Campus Activities Board — the current Student Programming Board — which is responsible for organizing the Boar’s Head Dinner.
Every year, one faculty member is invited to give a retelling of the story of the boar. This year, associate Professor of Japanese William H. Bridges IV was selected to share his version of the tale. The original story tells the tale of an Oxford University student encountering a ferocious boar and saving himself by stuffing the text of Aristotle down the animal’s throat and killing him.
Senior Ethan Peltier did not know much about the dinner until his friends who had gone as first-years encouraged him to go. “I didn’t know that it was going to be medieval themed, but I thought it was really great,” he said.
Deans, Student Association leaders, and Directors at Wilson Commons, along with the faculty speaker, were dressed in medieval clothing and placed at the high table in the center of Feldman Ballroom. Student servers were also dressed as medieval servers.
Sophomore Riley Prewett, the Boar’s Head Chair, led the planning of the dinner in October.
“It is the longest tradition at [UR], so it was really cool to be a part of [it].