Published : Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | 2:02 PM
The Tournament of Love, which began at Maranatha in 2013, is a week-long competition where Lady Knights (senior girls) fight for the right to court gentlemen (senior boys), by displaying their understanding of courtly love and chivalry. Maranatha English teacher Kristen Johansen explains, “I wanted a way to make the Medieval literature we were discussing in class more meaningful to them. We also spend quite a bit of time discussing love poetry from various British authors during this time, so this project allows us to get a greater understanding of how much dating has changed in the last few hundred years. I decided on the gender reversal, where the girls court the boys, because I wanted our female students to understand the difficulty involved with pursuing someone you’re interested in, and I wanted our male students to realize how being pursued in a chivalrous way might be something they should consider doing in their own romantic relationships.”
During the week, the senior boys are asked to make a cape worthy of their Lady Knight, and the girls must ask for their hand in courting in order for it to be given to them. Some ladies sing songs to their gentlemen, some get down on one knee, while others create elaborate posters and ask for their gentlemen’s hand in front of their class. Ms. Johansen says, “This was a tradition during the Medieval period for Knights to carry with them a token of affection from their ladies. Since the senior girls were going to be putting so much work into their courting efforts, I wanted the boys to bestow upon them something worthy of that. It’s also fun just to see all of them dressed up in that way.”
While many believe that chivalry is dead, especially among today’s teenagers, it’s refreshing to know it is very much alive at Maranatha High School!
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.