In the early hours of Sunday morning, students at Merton College spent the hour gained as the clocks returned to Greenwich Mean Time walking backwards around Fellows’ Quad in full subfusc in an effort to restore a balance in the space-time continuum.
The Time Ceremony, as it has been known since its introduction in 1971, is popular with Oxford students. Porters were forced to lock up the college and the event was limited to students of Merton College in an attempt to control numbers.
Tradition dictates the students drink port as they walk around the quad. Both Sainsbury’s and Tesco are reported to have sold out of the fortified wine by early Saturday evening.
Fortunately for many attendees, the JCR were on hand to provide support and assistance to those who, in the words of JCR President Christian Ruckteschler, were “a little worse for wear”.
The validity of the science behind the hour-long mass drunken backwards walk has never been proven conclusively. Several physicists have argued that the science of the ceremony “makes a weird kind of sense,” pointing out that the universe has indeed continued to function and the world has continued to turn after every ceremony performed in the last 40 years. “Better to be safe than sorry”, one medic insisted.
One second year commented, “As happens so often, saving the universe is a responsibility that falls to Mertonians.”
A group of freshers also pointed to the Time Ceremony as proof that, counter to its reputation, Merton does have a fun side.
A PPE student commented, “So this is how Mertonians enjoy themselves… Odd. Personally I’d have chosen to drink rum and coke.”