College: where you spend all day in pajamas, all night in the library, and the rest of your free time figuring out how to drop a piano off the roof. (What, you didn’t go to MIT?) While every campus has its own rituals, these 11 go way past silly fight songs and wacky frat pledges. Keep reading for the history behind the most unique college campus traditions in the country. (Just be on the lookout for flying pianos as you read.)
Dragon Day (Cornell University)
Long before nerds became the coolest kids on campus, a few at Cornell decided to parade their architecture skills through campus -- in the form of a dragon. Since that day in 1901, the Friday before Spring Break has been known as Cornell’s Dragon Day, where first-year architecture students build an elaborate dragon the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float and walk it through campus. In 1968, the dragon was painted all black to protest the Vietnam War, and these days, there’s a Nerd Walk that accompanies the event and students sell T-shirts to fund the dragon construction. Not to be outdone, Cornell’s engineering students (who have a longstanding rivalry with the architecture school) founded the “Phoenix Society,” which builds a huge phoenix on this same day to battle the dragon. Picture a super-sized Dungeons & Dragons game come to life.