On Thursday, on the 40th day of Easter each year, falls Ascension Day. This day commemorates the Christian belief of the Ascension of Jesus’s body into heaven. To mark this occasion, there are a range of traditions across the country, and in different Oxford colleges.
At lunchtime on Ascension Day the connecting door between Brasenose and Lincoln College is opened, and they are invited to drink beer. It is the custom for Lincoln to taint the beer with ground ivy to discourage Brasenose students from taking too great an advantage of their hospitality. There are many theories as to why this Lincoln’s and Brasenose’s tradition:
- A Brasenose man was chased by a town mob and was then murdered at the gates of Lincoln because the Lincoln students refused to aid him by opening them.
- In a duel, a Lincoln man killed a Brasenose man.
This isn’t the only tradition that Lincoln students take part in, however. There is also the beating of the bounds, where crowds carrying sticks follow an ancient route to check the boundaries of Oxford’s two neighbouring parishes, beating the ancient landmarks that mark the route as part of the tradition. And at midday, you can watch members of the JCR committee throw pennies from the top of Lincoln’s tower onto the grass of front quad for local children to run around and pick up. In the past, the pennies had been heated up to teach children about the dangers of greed, but now only serves to add to the day’s fun.
This year, Ascension Day falls on Thursday 10th of May, so make sure to mark your calendars for a day full of festivities!