The Creation of Pi Phi Ritual

In celebration of National Ritual Celebration Week, we are honoring our Fraternity heritage and respecting our Ritual. Pi Beta Phi Ritual is center to the values for which we stand. This week serves as a reminder of what it means to live our Ritual each and every day. To fully understand and respect Pi Phi Ritual, we must go back to its creation by D.C. Alpha Anna S. Hazelton.

Anna, along with Lillie Hazelton and Emma Harper Turner, were charter members of the D.C. Alpha Chapter when it was founded at Columbian University (now George Washington University) on April 27, 1888. She was quite familiar with chapter business – serving as the Chapter President – and was a leader for the Fraternity. In 1890, Anna drafted the first Pi Phi Ritual at the request of her friend, Emma Harper Turner. She was just a collegian when she wrote the beautiful words that open and close our chapter meetings.

The Initiation Ceremony and Ritual were issued in printed form in September 1890 after being adopted at the Galesburg Convention. In Galesburg, the carnation was also chosen as the Fraternity flower. Pi Beta Phi Ritual was officially adopted for alumnae clubs in 1893 when the Alumnae Association was formed.

The values, which are reflected in our Ritual, are guideposts for a fulfilling, contented and meaningful life. To live those values on a day-to-day basis should be our fervent goal. To know that we are a part of an organization over 150 years old, whose values have remained constant for all those years and whose members have taken a pledge to live those values, is both comforting and motivating. Our values bring with them a responsibility to live each and every day to the very best of our abilities.

While our Founders may not have written Ritual, their work defined what it would become:

The arrow ever pointing upward.
The beauty of a deep wine carnation.
The upstairs bedroom in Major Holt’s home.
The 12 links on our badge honoring our Founders.
The wine and silver blue threads woven through the fabric of sisterhood.

In honor of National Ritual Celebration Week, we encourage you to spend time reflecting on how you #LiveYourRitual each and every day. Whether it be proudly wearing your badge or singing the Pi Phi Symphony, share your story by using #LiveYourRitual and #NRCW.


Published March 4, 2020

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About The Author

Fran DeSimone Becque

The Fraternity's historian, Fran DeSimone Becque, is the resident expert on all things Pi Phi, from historical events and antiques to current happenings and modern artifacts. Fran is recognized in the fraternity and sorority community for her passion for Greek-letter organization history. She has conducted extensive research at the Student Life and Culture Archives at the University of Illinois and is the author of several fraternity histories, completed as part of the National Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing.