Pledging and Initiation are both rituals that sorority members participate in, signifying different steps of their membership.
Pledging is when a woman participates in a ritual ceremony where they commit to being a new member of the sorority. This happens on or within a few days of Bid Day. You are essentially making a pledge to your sisters to learn about the sorority and uphold all membership standards. Your initiated sisters are making a pledge to you at the same time; they are promising to nurture and guide you through the new member period to help you develop into a full-fledged initiated sister. If you compare a sorority to a relationship, think of pledging as an engagement.
Initiation is when a new member participates in a ceremony that marks formal admittance into the sorority as a member. This happens after several weeks of being a new member and learning about the sorority’s history. By completing initiation, the standards will be raised and you will not be allowed to pledge another sorority. Initiation is like the marriage ceremony.
Both of these events are ritual ceremonies that typically date back to the very beginning of the sorority’s founding. They include symbolic gestures, readings, and actions, with the details remaining secret within the membership.
While you may be overwhelmed with emotion or curiosity during the actual ceremony, you should spend time afterwards reflecting on the ceremony and its importance to your sisterhood.
One last note – none of these rituals should include any hazing. If you believe you were hazed in any way you should speak to your school’s greek advisor.
Casey, Kate & Rachel
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