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Pangy Day: Your Great-Grandmother's May Day

The May Day celebration began in 1896 as a fundraiser for the Dramatic Club, but became an annual tradition in 1900 at President Mary Woolley's inauguration. May Day festivities included plays on Prospect Hill, dancing around the maypole, and a pageant that presented the May Queen and her court. The pageants continued through 1949, while crowning May Queens went until 1967. For decades there were no similar spring traditions, until the 1978 introduction of Pangynaskeia Day, more commonly referred to as Pangy Day, which coincided with President Elizabeth Kennan's inauguration. Before naming her new seminary Mount Holyoke, founder Mary Lyon considered the name Pangynaskeia, which is defined as “cultivating the total world of women—physical, intellectual, and moral.” Currently, Pangy Day is one of Mount Holyoke’s most cherished traditions. Every year, students, staff, and faculty have a picnic on the Pageant Green and enjoy an afternoon of games, crafts, bunnies, and dancing around the May Pole.