Sunday, July 24, 2011

Old South 2011 - Kappa Alpha Order Formal

Since I left California at the age of 13 with nothing on my mind except high school, I had absolutely no idea of what a "fraternity" was, and more specifically, what ones were popular and existed on California campuses.  Being much more informed now (ha), it's hard for me to imagine any California campus having a KA chapter, and if they do, that they celebrate the Kappa Alpha Order tradition in the way that it is meant to be celebrated.  In KA chapters around the South, members ride horse back to deliver invitations to formal and there are yearly celebrations dedicated to the birth and live of Robert E. Lee.  The reason I am writing about KA and their traditions is because my boyfriend Jack is a KA here at UNC and this year I got to attend KA's formal. Old South.

About a month before Old South, Jack asked me to be his date for Convivium.  Convivium is the celebration of Robert E. Lee's birthday, KA's spiritual founder.  Kappa Alpha prides Robert E. Lee, above all else, on his ability to be a gentleman and it is on that principal which they founded their fraternity.  On this night, the men dress in tuxedos and the women dress in floor length gowns.  

The event was held at the Carolina Inn, the most distinguished spot on UNC's campus.  Dinner was served at 8, speeches were given by special guests from around North Carolina and KA alums and then the dancing began.  The best part - seeing everyone jump around to "Shout" by the Isley Brothers and then every boy get on the ground in their tux and do the gator.

Then came Old South.  Instead of delivering my rose and invitation on horseback, he came to chapter one night and asked me there.  He got down on one knee and presented me with a rose - and of course I did not suggest to him that he should do that :) 

The first night of Old South is called Sharecroppers night.  Dress code: white trash, redneck, hillbilly, etc.  Location: a farm, with a barn and a hay ride.  We all met in a parking lot where we loaded onto a bus and drove the 45 minutes to the farm.  It was a wide open field with pasture stretching forever, a bonfire, horses and a big barn.  Inside the barn there was a band playing.  We spent the night dancing, roasting marshmallows and going on hayrides - all while looking our best.
The next day we left for Charleston, SC - one of the most gorgeous, Southern cities in the nation.  The formal was held that night at the Mills House Hotel, which once housed Robert E. Lee and  was one of the buildings which was barely damaged in the huge fire that swept across the entire city of Charleston many years ago.
Again, it was another night of delicious food, dancing and awards.  Afterward, Jack and I walked around the city of Charleston, admiring all of the people and the places before eventually passing out.  The next morning marked one of KA's most distinct traditions:
The girls dress up as Southern Belles and the boys dress as confederate soldiers.  Then the entire group embarks on either a walking tour, or horse carriage tour of the town.  We were stopped countless times to be asked whether we were doing an Antebellum Reenactment or something pertaining to the Civil War.  Walking by the harbor and through the parks in a beautiful "Gone With the Wind" sort of dress was amazing.

That afternoon, we drove to Seabrook, SC - an island about 15 miles south of Charleston.  Jack  and I both have family in that area and so we went to visit.  That night, KA rented out a bar and we spent the evening dancing and socializing.  All in all, it was an amazing trip and I can't wait until next year :)

1 comment:

  1. Sooo cute!! I am LOVING your blog and can't wait ot read more! Thanks for entering my giveaway, I have you down for two entries! Best of luck!