May Dip

Life is full of strange traditions: Halloween, Birthday Cake, Bachelorette Parties, holding our breath when passing a graveyard, Easter Candy, New Years, throwing rice at our wedding, etc. None so esoteric and mysterious, however, as

May Dip

May Dip, St Andrews, BonfireOnce a year on the first of May, St Andreweans gather at east sands to take part in a long-standing tradition. May Dip is a holiday for the college folk, a last hooray before final exams and revision week. Hundreds of people drink, walk to the beach, and take turns jumping in the freezing ocean water.  May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire,
May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, SunriseBefore taking the plunge at sunrise, all gather around bonfires on the beach to brace their bodies and minds for this uniquely shocking experience.May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, SunriseThen, once everyone is good and liquored-up, the sun will rise and people will start to the water. One by one, students strip and  run into the ocean. Some go naked. Others bring bathing suits. Some go in and others just observe, but all have a good time.
May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, Moon May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire,
I’m not sure which was more beautiful that morning: hundreds of college kids swimming in the ocean at five a.m. or the sunrise. Either way, this strange


is a living, breathing reminder that we all do crazy things for the sake of doing crazy things. Although the origin is widely unknown, May Dip is one of those traditions that will probably be around as long as the

University of St Andrews

(maybe  600 years)

May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, SunriseAt the end of the day (or in this case the early morning) May Dip brings us together. It’s a communal thing. It’s a chance for all types of students to gather at the beach, drink, converse, hold our breaths, and jump into the ridiculously cold depths of the Atlantic. Maybe there is no rhyme or reason why we decide to jump into the Scottish waters early in the morning on the first of May. Maybe it’s for pure joy. Maybe we lose a bet. And maybe it’s to wash the sins of academic incest  Explanation Here. Whatever the reason, we do it together, and that’s the most rewarding part of May Dip.  No questions. No reason. Just Dip.

May Dip, St Andrews, Bonfire, Swimming, Cold Water


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