The John Harvard anniversary celebration, which has been so successfully carried out during the past week, is an example of the non-essentials of college experience, which are nevertheless valuable accessories. The occasion was one worthy of commemoration, but neglect to observe it might have passed by un-noticed. The very spirit in which it was received, however, proves that our lack of old traditions is not due to anything fundamentally opposed to them in the nature of Harvard undergraduates. We must explain it by the fact that a revolt against provincial customs has gone too far, and that in ridiculing many of the seemingly foolish usages of smaller colleges we are over anxious to be free from anything similar. An example of the better sort of tradition is that which some years ago prompted undergraduates to remove their hats when passing through the Newell Gate, out of respect for the man whose name it bears.
The oldest University in the land, Harvard has perhaps the fewest traditions. Probably that is for the best, for this University has always stood for freedom of thought and action. But certain observances which exert an unconscious influence upon all who live under them are not inconsistent with true freedom. When opportunities for these arise, let us not be ashamed to display an interest in them, whether the interest is prompted by mere sentiment or by a deeper realization of that which lies behind the public expression of it.