The origin of the word “Rag” according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “an act of ragging; especially, an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct carried on in defiance of authority or discipline”.
In the United Kingdom, Rag Day is an activity carried out by student-run charity organizations and are widespread in Britain. Most universities in the UK and Ireland, as well as some in the Netherlands and South Africa, observe the Rag Day.
Alternatively, its thought to be from Victorian era when students took time out of their studies to collect rags to cloth the poor I.e return their earned money to the poor.
The first rag in South Africa was started at the university of Pretoria in 1925. The student took to the street in parade that still exist today and known as precession.
In the united kingdom, rag day is an activity carried out by student-run charity organization.
Rag day or rag activities is a voluntary charity works in the form of fundraising campaign for the less privilege people in our society by Nigerian higher institutions.
But the above definition of Rag has gone to oblivion. Ragging as student like to call it in Nigeria is usually part of the student week when students especially fresher’s adorn rag or dress in less sensible manner and storm the street in bid to raise fund for charity. But unfortunately the Charity has been thrown into the bin and make my pocket rich, has been introduced by the student. The students see it as a way of getting money from the public to enrich their pocket and forget the meaning of the activity.
Salome Eze, a 200-level student of Accountancy in the Institute of Management Technology, Enugu recalls, “I remember when I was young and my elder siblings in the university used to tell me about rag day, emphasizing that its aim is to help the poor and needy. And then I couldn’t wait to experience it. But now, it’s just a shame that the original purpose of this event has faded away.”
Students who go out for ragging don’t do so with charity in mind anymore. Rather, they do so in a bid to enrich themselves. Even persons who are not students “join the queue” because its purpose has been defeated. It is now deemed to be a highly “lucrative” venture. That is why you see a final year student who is supposed to be in school concentrating on his academic work, out there on the streets in the name of ragging.
What is the true meaning of Rag Day? Has its original meaning been lost? Do you think its time to “take off the rags” from our tertiary institutions? Please drop your comments below.