Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Hundreds of University of St Andrews students gathered at the East Sands at dawn today (Sunday 1 May 2022) to participate in May Dip. Students made their way to the beach for sunrise at 5:27am to run into the North Sea. May Dip is an annual tradition to cleanse academic sin and bring students luck in their exams. Academic sin can involve - among other things - stepping on the cobbled PH in town, the location of Patrick Hamilton’s burning in 1528. Stepping on the PH is said to bring a curse upon students which could cause them to fail their degree. The curse can be lifted through participating in May Dip. On 30th April, students took part in The Gaudie, a torchlit procession and pier walk. Students gathered at Younger Hall, where the St Andrews Madrigal Group sang, before making their way to the pier. The Gaudie procession is an annual event to commemorate John Honey, a student who in 1800 rescued members of the crew of the Janet of Macduff which had run aground off the East Sands. He rescued the crew by swimming out to the vessel five times, bringing a man back with him each time. On his final trip, the ship’s mast broke and fell on Honey. On the last day of April each year, students process with torches to East Sands, led by a piper, where they lay a wreath at the site of the shipwreck. This is the first Gaudie procession and May Dip since 2019 due to Covid restrictions.
Photo: University of St Andrews