The History and Rituals of Passionfruit

Passionfruit is a morning ritual that started at Carlisle, then migrated to Lancaster and Clinton. Rumor has it that L.A. and Saratoga students have also began to observe the Passionfruit. It is tied with the Canon as one of the most important CTY traditions. It's purpose is to bring CTYers together to give thanks for all that CTY is through toasts and whatnot. More recently, as the tradition has become more wide spread, and more important to many CTYers, the administration has been using the threat of with-holding Passionfruit privileges as a punishment, though for the most part they remain supportive of the tradition.

Passionfruit's Beginning

In the days when Garey was still as CTY student at Carlisle instead of the SRA, the HUB had a VeryFine machine which CTYers would use to buy the Juice of the Passionfruit. It is said that Passionfruit started here, when a group of CTYers, including Garey and several other names know to today's CTYers as staff, put money into the machine, and then toasted each other with the Juice of the Passionfruit early one Sunday morning. The exact details have been lost in the fog of time, but we do know that the ritual continued, grew and traveled.

Passionfruit's arrival at Lancaster

By Andromeda Yelton

1994-1 I was taking playwriting at Carlisle, which was my only Carlisle sessions sandwiched in between seven at that's where I found out about Passionfruit. The last day, six or seven in the morning, we all gathered on a nice open grassy place with some big things of Passionfruit juice... The concept was...pass the juice around and say nice things about people and/or memories of the session until you run out of juice. Took hours.
I liked this tradition. I thought it was nice. 1994-2 was my last session (the infamous DIGI, which later got mixed up with LLRT and has a particularly rich history of its own...) I was at Lancaster with another person who had been at Carlisle (Jim Shuma) the first session and I started telling people about this really cool tradition -- I liked it because I liked all the friendship and kindness and love that it held, and I kind of wanted such a thing for my last session....Other people agreed that it would be cool, so DIGI got one together. No Emperor figure, and we couldn't really find Passionfruit juice, and I don't think we got to start quite as early, but it had the same spirit.
And Later (by Ken Levin): Lancaster has had Passionfruit Emperors and Empresses since 1998, I can't verify for before that. At the start of 01.1, we began a new tradition of crowning a Passionfruit Princess, defined as a squirrel who has generally been really really cool and very unsquirrelish during the session.

Little Known Passionfruit Facts

By Galen White

Galen White worked at Carlisle from 1990-1996 and now works in Baltimore main office. He brings us these little known Passionfruit facts:
First instructor ever invited: Dan Allen in 1990
First RA ever invited: Todd something-or-other in 1990
First SRA invited: me, in 1993
First Dean: me, in 1995 (my head swelleth over)
The first ceremony happened when someone (I think this was 1989) had to leave the site early in the morning. so Garey, Gayle Jaffe, and a few others got together with this guy and had a mellow farewell early in the morning. Then it just kind of rolled on from there.
According to Garey they planned at some point (I think this was 1990) to go off campus to buy drinks, but he (Garey) said they could get kicked out, so they asked the aforementioned Todd to drive them to get the juice. Thus started the tradition of staff taking students to buy drinks for Passion Fruit. From there it turned into the SRA taking the Emperor and one or two other people to do the buying. For the last purchase of the summer, the new Emperor had to come too and ride around the grocery store in a cart, followed by a quick dinner at McDonald's. I don't know if they still do that or not, but it was quite a time.

Description of a Carlisle Passionfruit

By Jesse Biddle and Amy Judd

At 7 am Sunday morning, and on the morning of the last day, CTY-ers get together and the King/Emperor and Queen/Emperess start the ceremony with a type of speech. All the kids have been given (or brought) a bottle of juice. Then you turn the bottle upside down and bang on it (to mix the pulp in with the juice and to pop that seal button) Then you open the bottle and toss the lid into the center of the circle. Then you go around the circle and toast things that are good about CTY or people who mean something to you at CTY. After every toast the toaster(???) says "I love the Passionfruit" then everyone takes a sip of juice. If it is someone's first time at passionfruit then The whole group Screams "virgin" at them. Then that person can give a toast. At the end (when everyone has toasted) the king/emperor and queen/emperess for next year are chosen. Some years, you were supposed to save all the empty bottles, and then on the last day spell something out on the library field with them.

Description of a Lancaster Passionfruit

On the last day of the session, Lancaster students gather and sit in a circle. They open one bottle of juice. The first person toasts one thing, takes a sip of the juice, and passes the bottle to the next person. The next person toasts something, takes a sip, and passes the juice on. The juice is passed all the way around the circle in this manner, and when it reaches the first person again, that person can toast a second thing, and pass the juice on again. The juice continues to travel like this until everyone has toasted all they wanted to, or they run out of juice. More recent reports tell of a passionfruit princess, much like the Calisle king.

Description of a Clinton Passionfruit

By Beth Simmons (with Austin)

Around the beginning of the last week, a few nevermores start making a list of all the nevermores, plus anyone else who has been an "essential" part of the session. This includes RAs and admin. I don't think any instructional staff has ever been involved. or if they have, they were RAs the previous summer. The few organizers (we don't call them emperors/empresses) tell everyone very discretely to meet in front of the office at 6:30am on the last day of the session with one of the Hamilton-issued brown blankets. (they're legendary) with the help of RAs, they get their hands on the juice--something red and sugary from the Great American in town. There isn't much selection. So then we do the standard sitting in a circle on Babbit/Minor field, going around the circle talking about our experience, ending each toast with "I love cty and I love the passionfruit" and everyone taking a sip. There are of course lots of tears and it's quite a catharsis. At the end we take all the cups and spell out CTY on the grass and take a picture.
Passionfruit arrived at Clinton in 94, the same year that it arrived at Lancaster. Early Clinton passionfruit resembled Lancaster passionfruit more than it does the current Caslisle incarnation. It is unclear how it migrated to Clinton.