Hopkins Traditions and Holiday Festivities Come Back at Full Force
It’s that time of year again, when the winter walking safety tips are sent out and the holidays are fast approaching. Hopkins students are looking forward to the upcoming holiday festivities in December, especially following last year’s hybrid schedule.
For much of the 2020-2021 school year, the student body was split into two cohorts to limit community spread of Covid-19. This period included the holidays, and the two cohorts celebrated the holidays independently while on campus. Following the holiday breaks the Hopkins community was fully virtual, so school celebrations were difficult to maintain. Henry Tanner ’25 noted, “I can now see more people and openly say, ‘happy holidays’ instead of communicating that through a screen.” While the cohorts celebrated the holidays when they were on campus, Ayelet Kaminski ’22 said, “Last year it felt like the holidays just passed by without any in-school acknowledgement.”
If anything, last year’s challenges have led Hopkins students to make the most out of the holiday season. The in-person schedule has given Student Council time to bring back missed traditions, including the Connecticut Food Bank Fundraiser. Senior Class President Chris Ruaño ’22 said, “It’s always going to be a challenge when you have to deal with rigorous health and safety standards, but for most of our events we were able to adapt. The major issue was with fundraising at bigger chains like Stop and Shop, because they wouldn’t allow us to fundraise because of Covid.” This year, students have been raising money outside of Ashley’s Ice Cream and Atticus Bookstore Cafe, among other locations while masked. Ruano continued, “We were able to make modifications so even if they’re not exactly the same, we were able to keep our traditions.”
The student body’s favorite Hopkins holiday tradition, Five Golden Rings, is also making a big return this year. Abby Regan ’22 missed “that last day of school before break when you don’t do anything in classes and there’s Five Golden Rings, and food, and holiday sweaters, and gifts and so much happy and positive energy.” As the majority of the student body was at Hopkins pre-pandemic, many students are looking forward to a return to those holiday celebrations. Tanner said, “I’m looking forward to the Five Golden Rings this year because I remember how good it was two years ago and I can’t wait.” Kaminski looks forward to “Five Golden Rings because I’m finally a senior and that’s the Assembly we get to plan.” Some students have never experienced this Hopkins tradition before, like Hanna Jennings ’24. Jennings said, “I’m looking forward to the [Five] Golden Rings just because it has such a big reputation and I’m excited to see what it’s about.” Dhalia Brelsford ’23 said, “I feel like we are all much more excited for anything that we can do as a community together.” Ingrid Slattery ’23 missed “that moment after Five Golden Rings when you can walk out the [Athletic Center] door surrounded by friends with two weeks in front of you that are completely your own.”
In addition to December holiday traditions, some festivities extend through winter. Due to Covid restrictions, Lunar New Year celebrations on February 12 will continue to follow safety regulations. Brelsford is looking forward to “Chinese New Year because it’s always been my favorite Hopkins tradition. The way everyone comes together to make it happen is amazing, and the parents who come out to make dumplings are incredible. There is always so much to do as well—you can get your silhouette cut out of paper or try your chopstick skills by picking up M&M’s or you can just enjoy the delicious food.”
Finally, Student Council has started to plan the Yule Ball for January. All-school dances were not possible last year, but the student body has already successfully navigated an in-person Homecoming. Ripley Chance ’26 said, “Our first dance was awesome and I’m excited to get back into the groove of things.” After last year’s festivities and separations, Jennings said, “The attitude just seems a lot more festive this year since everyone is all together again and all the holiday traditions are back.”