What is Baylor’s Diadeloso?
In the 1930s, the life of a Baylor student was not exactly carefree. On a national level, Bears of that decade had experienced the Great Depression and World War I (plus the beginnings of what would become World War II); more locally, the death of Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks just before the 1931 graduation ceremonies hit the campus community hard. His successor as president, Pat Neff, had a tough job ahead of him.
So, shortly after his inauguration, Neff 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.
And thus was born “All-University Day.” 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 many friendly competitions, culminating in a tug-of-war contest between freshmen and sophomores.
That joyous day in 1932 quickly became an annual tradition, although with a few name changes over the years. “All-University Day” became “Physical Fitness Day” and then “May Day” before finally landing on “Diadeloso” — the “day of the Bear” — in 1966. And the event has only gotten bigger and better as time’s gone on!
Today, Diadeloso is held all across campus, but centered on the historic heart of campus around Fountain Mall. The day usually includes a morning of goat yoga, a fun run, sporting competitions, food trucks, live music, live animals, dance performances, and of course, tug-of-war. This year is no different, ending with an incredible concert by Apollo LTD (whose music you may recognize from Baylor’s current commercial) as the finale.
Much like in the 1930s, the past two years have been difficult for our faculty and students. Current Bears have navigated a pandemic, international uncertainty, and countless other stresses. But spring at Baylor always promises a day of celebration and relaxation: Diadeloso. And we can’t wait to share the day together!
Sic ’em, Dia!