History of Spring Break

Antonia Gutierrez

Most students and individuals associate spring break with a week dedicated to partying and drinking or a chance to finally get some de – cent sleep after the stressful semester (the second one is very much me.)

Spring break is different for everyone of course. As a child spring break meant that it was time for spring cleaning.

In high school, spring break meant I was going to work more hours and make more money.

Now, spring break is a chance for me to go home and see my family. This year, for the first time in my life, my birthday lands during spring break so I will also be doing some partying, not the kind that spring break is known for.

Daytona Beach, Florida, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Cancun, Mexico are the few locations that many individuals as – sociate with spring break partying. Spring break traditions date back to the Greek and Roman traditions.

Spring was seen as the season of fertility and awakening. They would celebrate with the Dionysus or Bacchus, the Greek and Roman gods of wine.

More recently, Sam Imgram from Colgate University is credited with starting the traditions that most people associate with spring break, drinking and partying. His school traveled to Ft. Lauderdale for a swimming competition in 1963.

In 1938, Ft. Lauderdale saw this as a marketing opportunity. They started the “Coaches’ Swim Forum” at the Casino Pool. It wasn’t until the 60’s that it started taking off with over 300 swimmers attended the event.

In 1986, MTV was the first year that they held their Daytona Beach Special in Dayton Beach, Florida. The broadcast only strengthened spring break’s reputation for binge drinking and sexual access.

One fact that I found interesting was that some universities have started distributing “safe break bags,” which include sunscreen, condoms, and sexual assault manuals, according to an article by TIME magazine in 2009.

Different countries around the world have their spring break equivalent during different times. In Slovakia, spring break is associated with skiing since the weather is very cold.

In some countries the school year begins and ends at different times compared to the U.S. Some countries have a two week break.

Some have spring break during the month of September which is when the spring season starts in the southern hemisphere.

Like previously mentioned, Easter and the holidays surrounding it are usually celebrated during spring break.

Other countries have similar holidays that they also celebrate. For example, Chile’s spring break coincides with “Fiestas Patrias” or their celebration of the country.