Y Facts

Lighting the Y

Lighting the Y

Beginning in 1924, lighting the Y became a tradition in which hundreds of students proceeded up the trail, set fire to oil-soaked mattress stuffing around the perimeter of the letter, and then marched back down the trail carrying torches. The ‘Y' was written in fire in the night, and a long line of fire zig-zagged down the mountainside. A 1963 graduate, Stephen Barrett, said the fire only lasted about 20 minutes and those on the mountain never got to see it lit from a distance, but it was still "one of the best parts of homecoming."

In 1988, (some accounts say sometime in the 1970s) BYU began using strings of light bulbs to light the Y instead of the goop balls - wads of shredded mattress stuffing soaked in flammable liquid - and the tradition has continued each Homecoming since. Fourteen strands of lights are placed around the Y's perimeter and are lit five times a year by the Intercollegiate Knights. The Y is lit for Freshman Orientation, Homecoming, Y Days, and graduation in August and April.

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