Thursday, March 31, 2011

Of Chilean hazing; of mechones;

Last week when I was in Vina del Mar one of the first things I noticed were people covered in paint with torn clothes. Eventually I came across a group of them who were asking for money. I eventually figured out that they were freshmen at the local university and going through their first week of hazing. There were covered with paint what was probably some rotten seafood. Each of them also had a fresh chicken's foot around their necks. You could see (and smell) people just like them all over the city asking for money.

From Chile W2 Haze

In Valdivia the same thing was going on. I learned that it is a big tradition of hazing for university students. The freshmen have bits of their hair cut off, are smeared with anything around, sprinkled with flour, clothes torn, and paraded around campus. Then they have to ask for money in the city to buy their things back from the upperclassmen. Then all the money goes to a big party at the end of all the hazing.

My history class was interrupted several times today with the yells of students chanting pelo (hair) as freshmen were leaving their class.

As they left their classroom there were marked with sharpies and a bit of paint.

Then there were all roped together through holes cut in their pants.

The worst came after they were brought outside. There were smeared with mustard, sprayed with sodas, coated with glue. I saw some people getting mayo squeezed right into their ears. Other people had bottles of unknown brown liquid. I can only guess that it has been sitting around for most of the year waiting for this day.

Then they were led around campus on their rope to different places where they would get coated or locks of hair cut off. Around campus you can find locks of hair on the ground from the hazing. These students are know as mechones (locks of hair) because of this first year tradition.

Even with all of the happening to them, a lot managed to keep smiling. I think they all know that it happens every year and next year they get to dirty up some freshmen. That and when this is all over they will be getting drunk. You would never see this tradition in the states. Now probably all schools have rules about hazing like this. And it isn't just one day. This has been going on all week. This is just my first time seeing the freshmen being dirtied. I've been seeing them all around town asking for money.

No comments:

Post a Comment