The longest-running tradition at UNB returns to Harrison House this year. Get ready for the Great Pumpkin Sacrifice.
Every year since 1973, Harrison House has dropped a massive pumpkin weighing upwards of 600 pounds off the roof of their residence building.
“There were two students in Harrison. They decided to go on the rooftop of our lounge and throw a pumpkin off. From there we started doing it every year and then it got bigger and bigger and it’s turned into what it is today,” said Brett Pineau, president of Harrison House.
The pumpkin is modelled after the Roman god Janus, god of beginnings and transitions. One half of the carving features a sad face and the other a happy face.
“Pretty much what it symbolizes to us is that so far in the year there have been people that are happy with their academic success and there are people who are sad for their academic success. The whole event is based on the reflection of their academic success and how it’ll change,” Pineau said.
All Harrison House residents are invited to the sacrifice, however, students in different years will have different roles in the event.
“For first years the big thing is they at no point can actually touch the pumpkin. And then when you come back in second year you can and it’s a big thing. It doesn’t seem that special but when you wait that whole extra year it’s pretty special.”
Upper-year students have more responsibility during the house’s biggest event of the year.
“There are two loyal guardians who are in charge of everything that goes on. They organize everything. It’s usually like a seniority thing. Last year they were selected by the other loyal guardians and it’s one of the biggest honours you can get in Harrison,” said Pineau.
The people of Fredericton will hear the Huskies (Harrison House residents) roar, or howl, for the entire week leading up to the sacrifice on Oct. 31.
“One of my favourite parts is starting Friday night right before quiet hours. We go out on the Harrison front porch area as a group and just howl for two minutes straight signalling the coming of the Great Pumpkin Sacrifice. The great thing is that people say they can hear us all over Fredericton and it freaks out the other people in residence who haven’t heard it before,” said Pineau.
But the sacrifice is more than showing off Harrison pride.
“You have that time, you have that memory together. It does bring the whole house closer together,” Pineau said.
“I love it more than Christmas. This is my favourite time of year. For a lot of us the midterm season is just getting over and all your marks, whether good are bad, it doesn’t matter — [the Great Pumpkin Sacrifice] is coming up,” he said.
There’s one more smashing twist to this legendary house event — but that won’t be revealed until the night of.
“For a lot of the first years it is pretty hush-hush. The more they don’t know about it the more special it is and the more people come out and watch it. It’s pretty explosive,” said Pineau.