Burning of Anna
Dates of ceremonies:
8 June 1883 - 1928
Other name(s): Burning of Ana
Origins: At the approach of exams in 1883, the Junior Class were so worried about passing the Analytical Geometry exam that they made a vow to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, to offer a burnt sacrifice should they pass the course. When most of the class did indeed pass, they erected a funeral pyre, indulged in beer and cigars, held a funeral procession through the Old Arts Building, and burned copies of the Analytical Geometry, as well as course exams and assignments, at midnight.
History: The tradition continued for years by each Sophomore class (after UNB went to a four-year programme instead of the previous three years) at UNB, marking the completion of the analytical geometry course by burning the copy of the textbook belonging to the student that scored highest in the subject, commonly referred to as "Ana." The sophomore class would procure an old horse-drawn type coach by whatever means necessary and, placing "Ana" inside, proceed with the funural procession to the steps of the Arts Building. After giving a suitable funeral oration, the entire coach was doused in kerosene and lit aflame. On occasion, other members of the sophomore class would contribute sacrificial materials in the form of class notes and textbooks. Evidence of the ceremony was usually buried to destroy evidence and avoid repercussion; however, in 1928 participants were caught and, under threat of legal action, the affair was settled monetarily by the president of the S.R.C., R.J. Love.
In 1912 not only were the textbooks burned, but the college gatehouse was as well.
Female students also performed their own ceremony in 1926 by "requisitioning" a baby carriage, placing copies of "Ana" within it, and set the whole contraption on fire. The ceremony was discontinued in the 1928, when analytical geometry was no longer a required subject for all students.
- UNB Scrapbooks (UA RG 100), 1930.
- UA Case 128; Section 2; File 1.
- Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 47.
- University Monthly (UA RG 84), vol. 33, no. 4, January 1914, p. 176.
- Bryant, David G. (ed). The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of New Brunswick 1908-1958. Fredericton: The U.N.B. Forestry Association, 1958, p. 147-148.
© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014