When you’re the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning for women, it’s only fitting to have some treasured traditions. As a student, you’ll quickly discover that the College’s traditions bring the community closer together and create some of your most memorable Mount Holyoke moments.

Professor James Hartley Singing Can't Stop the Feeling


The annual ceremony for welcoming our newest students and launching the academic year. Held in the amphitheater and attended by faculty and students.
Image of Famliy and Friends Weekend

Family and Friends Weekend

A weekend in October for family and friends to experience the beautiful Mount Holyoke campus, culture of academic excellence and vibrant cocurricular life.
Mountain Day 2016

Mountain Day

A College tradition since 1838. Classes are cancelled and students are invited to climb (or ride) to the Summit House atop Mount Holyoke.
Photo of two students near Mary Lyon's grave

Founder's Day

On Founder’s Day, Mount Holyoke College raises a spoon to the bravery and vision of its founder, Mary Lyon.
Image of students singing by candlelight

Annual Vespers concerts

Held in some form on campus each December since 1899, this holiday tradition is much anticipated and reliably fills Abbey Chapel.

Pangy Day

In 1980, Pangynaskeia (now commonly called “Pangy Day”) debuted as a Mount Holyoke College tradition celebrating the “total world of women.”
this is a photograph of Mount Holyoke students participating in the annual Laurel Parade.

The Laurel Parade

This moving ritual, which takes place during commencement weekend, marks the transition from MHC student to MHC alumna.
Students enjoying M&Cs

M&Cs (Milk and Cookies)

A long-standing College tradition enjoyed by all resident students, M&Cs is a light snack provided as a study break and social event each evening.
Image of big and little sisters

Big/Little Program

Sibings for life. Tracing its origins back to the early 1900s, the program pairs up a junior (the “Big”) with an incoming first-year (the “Little”).
Students with Acting President Sonya Stephens


DisOrientation is an ever-evolving tradition, but at its core it serves to build camaraderie between seniors and first-year students.
Photo of elfing gifts outside a door


A first-year and sophomore based tradition. First-year students receive small gifts over the course of the week from a sophomore ‘Elf.’
Image of the four MHC class symbols

Class Colors and Symbols

A tradition since the early 1900s, classes use a color and symbol to identify themselves at class-related activities including Convocation.