Spring Break: a history and review of a week off
March 28, 2018
Spring break, a time celebrated by youth and feared by the elderly who live on any beach remotely near the tropics. This celebration of the coming spring has roots seated in Ancient Greece and Rome where they would have festivities before the coming harvest. The debauchery expected during spring break can also be traced back to the celebration of Bacchus/Dionysius the god of wine and celebration. So while college students in Cancun are committing acts no parent would want to see their child commit, think back on the 2000 years of past partying that has been had around this time of year and you begin to realize that this is part of human culture. The thought that mankind has been doing “spring break” for thousands of years may not bring hope for any people who may be fed up with it at least the majority of people older than 22 can see it as a historic moment that has been carried through the generations.
While there have been harvest festivals occurring during the beginning of spring the start of the American spring break as e know it can be traced back to Colgate University in the year 1936. The swimming coach at Colgate had brought his team to Fort Lauderdale to train at the Casino Pool, an Olympic sized pool. The swimming team had a good time apparently because two years later there were more than 300 swimmers who would make the pilgrimage to Fort Lauderdale. Since that fabled day Spring Break as we know it continued to grow and by 1985 roughly 370,000 students were vacationing to Fort Lauderdale which had been dubbed the name “Fort Liquordale” for reasons which don’t need explanation. By the late 80’s the town of Fort Lauderdale was fed up with its yearly visits from rowdy college students and Mayor Robert Dressler passed strict drinking laws and went on Good Morning America to announce that the spring breakers were no longer welcome. This news didn’t discourage the new leaders of our great nation instead they just picked up shop and moved south to warmer water and lower drinking ages.
In 1986 MTV decided to get in on the spring break action and started the first of many spring break specials in Daytona Beach. While MTV’s coverage of the spring breaks in various locations over the decades didn’t do much to help the reputation of debauchery during spring break I’m sure the series made MTV a pretty penny.
Overall spring break should be a release of the stress during a long school year to some extent but many college students are subject to alcoholic and sexual excess during this time of freedom. Understandably they are just kids who want to have a good time but government officials have noticed that there are many dangers to today’s spring break atmosphere and has made multiple efforts to educate the youth about those dangers through the American Medical Association. All that said spring break is a great time to wind down and relax before the final stretch of school before summer and can be safe if you go to the right place and have respect for your surroundings.