Everyone, it’s March 4th! That means that it’s ἐξελαύνω (exelauno) Day for Hellenists everywhere, or Progredior Day for the Latinists among us. (Classicists get to celebrate both versions.)
The occasion for celebration? Both ἐξελαύνω and progredior have the root meaning “to march forth”. Can you tell that classicists love puns?
The tradition of making this terrible pun once a year is said to have started with teacher Clarence “Pop” Gleason, who also edited a popular Greek primer for students. He taught for many years at Roxbury Latin School, the oldest continuously operating school in North America. Gleason decreed that on March 4th there would be no homework for Greek and Latin students; instead, a declamation contest takes place on this day every year. You can watch last year’s competition here.