By Christina Cannady | Photographer/Reporter
Diadeloso, originally known as All-University Day, is an annual student tradition at Baylor University that began in 1932. Diadeloso started as a day to give students a break from studying during the financial stress of the 1930’s and to improve the quality of student life. According to an article published in the Higher Education & Student Affairs Baylor History Project, “All-University Day served as an ideological symbol of fellowship, comradeship, and Sabbath in a community of economic depression and hardship.”
Each year, Baylor finds a way to put a new twist on the classic tradition by adding different events or activities. The day off from classes is for all to enjoy. Diadeloso, or “Day of the Bear,” celebrates happiness, health, tradition and spirit.
In light of the pandemic, Baylor chose not to have many of the normal breaks this semester, including this classic Baylor tradition leading up to finals. Instead, the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, Baylor Student Activities and the Baylor Union Board all worked together to re-imagine Diadeloso into a week long event full of fun and tradition.
The festivities kicked off Monday with student group performances at the Student Union Building (SUB) Bowl. Semester long rehearsals with virtual performances were finally rewarded with this in-person showcase opportunity, even for groups not normally involved in the annual student tradition.
Tuesday consisted of a festive version of Dr Pepper Hour. Filled with green and gold sprinkles, photo ops and limited edition cups, this event was one that all the Dr Pepper Hour regulars could enjoy. Between classes, jobs and staying alive as the end of the semester inches closer, some students found it difficult to get away from their busy schedules, but because Diadeloso was spread out over the week, there were a slew of opportunities to join in on the fun.
Houston junior Kristin Baker attended two events during the week: the Dr Pepper Hour and Wednesday’s on-campus petting zoo. The lines of students proved the zoo was one of the most popular events of the week.
“I loved the petting zoo because I got to see cute animals with my friends and hold a kinkajou,” Baker said.
On Thursday, students gathered around Fountain Mall to watch “Ratatouille.” There were free Diadeloso-themed blankets given out as well as plenty of free food truck options to choose from.
Many of Friday’s Diadeloso events were canceled due to the rain, however Fiesta! prevailed and moved to the second floor of the SUB. This event was hosted by the Hispanic Student Association and celebrated various Latin American countries with artifacts, food and a mariachi band.
Saturday kicked off with a seniors-only tailgate before the Green and Gold football scrimmage at McLane Stadium. In the evening, students came to the SUB for a special rendition of Noche Del Oso at the Sundown Sessions. There was mini golf, line dancing, laser tag, giant Jenga, cornhole and s’more! (And s’mores)
Houston junior Cassandra Lutz, Union Board member and was one of many involved in the planning and organizing process for this year’s rendition of Diadeloso. With the pandemic still looming, she and other members wanted to keep this tradition alive for students. However, she said not having a real break this semester has taken a toll on many students and some found it increasingly difficult to make the time for things that spark joy and energy.
“I prefer the actual one day off of school. There’s just a different energy with that than there is having things at the end of the day. The week-long version is fun, and there’s been a lot of opportunities for people to get involved with Dia, but I prefer the big full day when everyone is energized and ready for it. It’s not as low-key,” Lutz said.
Houston sophomore Antoinette Bernal-Tent is also a Union Board member who helped facilitate the events throughout the week. Despite not having experienced a traditional Diadeloso, she appreciated this weeklong event and found respite in not getting the regular day off just yet.
“It’s awesome, I get to tell all my friends let’s go have a study break, you know, because we’ll be at Moody, and there’ll be animals on Fountain Mall. It’s kind of a bummer, though, since I’ve never had the real deal. Because the pandemic hit, I haven’t gotten to experience a real Dia yet,” Bernal-Tent said.
In addition to providing fun study breaks and events, Diadeloso serves as a symbol of hope at the end of a particularly difficult semester.
“This semester has been very different since we didn’t get a spring break. I know for me, spring break is much needed when it comes around, so not having that was really hard for me,” Baker said. “I’m so close to being done with junior year, and I’m excited to see what senior year will bring. Dia has just made that all real and really has reminded me to spend time with my friends who are graduating this year.”
Baylor’s week long rendition of Diadeloso has revived smiles to students and sparked what little energy is left here at the end, as finals approach and the semester closes. In a year like no other, Baylor has shown that tradition can and will survive a pandemic.