What is Diadeloso?
It can be a little hard to explain just what Diadeloso is to someone who isn’t an Oso. It’s more than a day of frivolity and shenanigans on a random Tuesday in spring; it’s a time for the Baylor family to take a break from their daily stresses and celebrate life.
In the 1930s, the life of a university student was not exactly a carefree one. The Bears of that decade witnessed the Great Depression and two world wars, plus the death of Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks just before the 1931 graduation ceremonies. His successor as president, Pat Neff, had a tough job ahead of him.
Shortly after Neff’s inauguration, he declared that the university would suspend classes for a day to give the hardworking and downtrodden Baylor students a break from the reality of their hardships — a day when they could focus on fellowship with one another.
Thus was born “All-University Day,” the forerunner of today’s Diadeloso. On May 11, 1932, more than 800 Baylor students, faculty and staff bought 25-cent tickets for transportation from campus to nearby Silver Lake. They ate barbecue and held friendly competitions in baseball, swimming, track, wrestling, three-legged races, and even yo-yoing! But the big event of the day was the tug-of-war between the freshmen and sophomores.
In 1935, the Baylor Chamber of Commerce took over managing All-University Day, and it only took off from there. (The 1937 All-University Day consisted of 99 events, such as jacks, leapfrog, a bicycle race, and even a donkey race, held on campus from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Over the years, the event’s name changed several times, first to “Physical Fitness Day” and then “May Day” before finally landing on “Diadeloso” — the “day of the Bear” — in 1966.
Today’s Diadeloso events usually include a fun run, sporting competitions, food trucks, live music, live animals, dance performances, and of course, tug-of-war. Beginning with Diadeloso 2016, the holiday expanded into a two-day event with the addition of “Nochedeloso” the night before Dia, featuring additional games, free food and a movie (in 2018, it’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi) on the big screen at McLane Stadium.
The students of 1932 had it rougher than most, but every college student could use a break this time of year. Thank you, Baylor, for continuing to give students this day of celebration and relaxation. Life can be chaotic and stressful, but for Baylor students, there’s always one day a year that isn’t: Diadeloso.
Sic ’em, Dia!