By Allison Summers, assistant director of education and leadership initiatives
In honor of our patron goddess Hera, Alpha Chi Omegas dedicate themselves on Hera Day, March 1, to aid the happiness and well-being of others. Let’s reflect on the meaning and purpose of Hera Day.
In 1910, Hera was selected as Alpha Chi Omega’s patron goddess. As explained by Fay Barnaby Kent (Delta, Allegheny College), former national vice president, Hera met several important criteria: “We felt that we should have a Greek, a major goddess, and if possible one not already identified with another fraternity. Hera is all of these. She was the Queen of all the gods, of heaven, and Protectoress of women from birth to death.”
A year after in 1911, the Fraternity dedicated March 1 as Hera Day, to honor our patron goddess with a mission of helpfulness to others. Whether alone or with their chapter sisters, on March 1 sisters of Alpha Chi Omega have accomplished small deeds of kindness to bring hope and happiness to others. The ways of spreading Hera Day cheer over the years have changed with the times but mostly remained the same, in that they all include giving time and talent! Read below to see how chapters honored Hera and our sisterhood over the years!
According to the “Hera Day Activities by Chapter Report” from 1941, as found on the Alpha Chi Omega history website, chapters honored Hera by dedicating their time to others in the following ways:
- Visiting retirement facilities, often to sing songs, do charitable work and build relationships with residents (Alpha, DePauw University; Gamma, Northwestern University; Beta Epsilon, Michigan State University)
- Making crafts for children in hospitals to bring joy into their days (Beta Nu, University of Utah)
- Hosting games, activities or parties and providing treats for children in orphanages to lift their spirits (Beta, Epsilon, Michigan State University; Kappa, University of Wisconsin- Madison; Pi, University of California, Berkley; Upsilon, Millikin University; Alpha Mu, Indiana University; Alpha Psi, UCLA; Beta Omicron, Florida Southern College; Beta Rho, American University)
- Donations of clothing and food to welfare organizations and local families (Tau, Brenau University; Alpha Gamma, The University of New Mexico; Alpha Eta, University of Mount Union; Alpha Mu, Indiana University; Alpha Tau, University of New Hampshire; Beta Eta, Florida State University).
- Sewing old clothes to make dolls for local children (Theta, University of Michigan)
In 1972, pictured here and available on the Alpha Chi Omega history website, members of Gamma Tau (Oklahoma City University) collegiate chapter and Rho Rho (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) alumnae chapter work together to make bibs for a local care center as part of a Hera Day project.
To learn more about our history, including Hera Day activities like those featured in this post, visit the history website, specially designed to bring Alpha Chi Omega’s history to life. See photographs and items, recently discovered in storage boxes, that have never been on display. Items are being added to this website on a regular basis. Please know that if you don’t find what you were looking for right away, headquarters staff is working hard to ensure history will not be forgotten. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our modern remembrances of Hera Day include volunteering in our communities and fundraising for local domestic violence shelters. What do you and your chapter have planned to recognize Hera Day? Don’t forget to share your collegiate or alumnae chapter’s photos and documents to showcase all the amazing work done to support others on Hera Day! Visit photos.alphachiomega.org to share current and past Hera Day photos!