Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Phi Delta Theta

Each chapter must have or have on order a complete set of ritual equipment. (An altar, the Bible, 2 swords, Pallas, 2 banners, flag, The Bond, 4 ritual books, a coffin, a skeleton, 6 spears, 12 masks, 12 hoodwinks, 2 lamps, 4 officer robes, 11 member robes)

How fascinating... that was from the Minimum Chapter Expectations & Standards Checklist (PDF) for Phi Delta Theta (their Code [PDF] is also interesting). Phi Delta Theta is a Greek Organisation (or Fraternity) founded in 1848.

Fraternities are called Greek Organisations because they are usually named by a dyad or triad of Greek letters. They are usually national organisations particular to the USA, with state chapters, and within those, houses attached to particular colleges. I was unaware that, far from being somehow forbidden underground movements, they actually hold substantial properties within college campuses — I suppose the legacy of having a long history and famous alumni!

The organisations seem very strange to a non-fraternity outsider — for example, many of them have secret signs, grips, whistles, ceremonies and the like, and although it’s often seen as bad form to haze rather than initiate their pledges, some do — but as the point is to fit in, I suppose they’re sane enough. Erm, well, perhaps... certainly hazing isn’t permitted in some fraternities, and there’s even a nationwide gay one. But you’re not allowed to date your brothers. Grr.

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