Ever wanted to know the inside scoop on traditions at Queen’s? Ever wondered why we wear tams, how homecoming became so legendary at Queen’s, or why engineering students smash their jackets on the ground? This article will tell you all that you need to know about traditions at Queen’s. 

1. Cha Gheil

This legendary chant is taught to freshmans the first day they arrive at Queen’s. Surprisingly, the word is pronounced “Kay ya” and usually translates as “no surrender”. It is now used to salute one another, or indicate cheers! 

2. Tams

Tams are a key indicator of the Queen’s spirit. The Tam O’Shanter is a hat that reflects the Queen’s Scottish roots. It is a flat hat with a pom pom coming out of the top. Queen’s tams date back to the 1920’s, where they were commonly worn for the school uniform. The tam exemplifies school spirit, especially at school events like football games. It is said that if you deliver a pom pom to a local bar, you get a free beer. Give it a try!

3. Purple Dye

Ever seen a picture of an engineering student dying their body purple on homecoming? Well, this is a common trend for first year engineers and their frecs (frosh leaders). The purple dye is the “war colour” of the engineers. Students dye their skin and their university jackets purple as an initiation when joining the engineering school. The tradition is sometimes used at other Schools, but started at Queen’s in the late 1970’s.

4. Leather Jackets

All faculties can buy a leather jacket belonging to their faculty. After buying the jacket,  you are now ready to complete some challenges that will allow you to earn bars. In order for any frosh to be allowed to sew bars onto their jacket, they must have proof of completing a certain activity. For example, if you complete a certain internship, you will get a flag sewn onto your jacket. 

5. Homecoming and St. Patricks Day

Queen’s is notoriously known for its celebratory and spirited events. People travel from around the world to attend a Queen’s homecoming. There is a football game that Queen’s hosts at Richardson Stadium, the Queen’s Bands perform, and lots of students travel to attend the day parade, where people drink, celebrate, and of course, sport red, yellow, and blue! St Patricks Day is also a fun excuse to do the same, but wearing green of course.

There are tons of traditions at Queen’s, but the best way to learn about them is to experience them for yourself!

Published on August 4, 2022

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