By Mary Matarazzo Bryant, Delta Omega (Murray State U), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee Chair
The ritual of shaking hands dates at least back to ancient Egypt and Babylon, and possibly further than recorded history shows. It was a gesture for men to demonstrate they were not carrying weapons to extend their open right hand. This might explain why women didn’t follow the custom until more recently. Today, a handshake represents both welcome and good faith, such as when a deal is sealed with a handshake. Yet another explanation is that the handshake was a symbol of good faith when making an oath or promise. When they clasped hands, people showed that their word was a sacred bond.
Why does AOII have a grip and not a handshake? A grip is defined as a strong clasping of hands. We reach out to warmly greet one another with a grip that offers our strength to pull up or support the other member. How refreshing it is to be together in-person again to actually share the grip and the values given to us in our Ritual!
We begin each of our Rituals and Ceremonies by warmly exchanging our grip. Certainly at the beginning of a casual meeting or a team/committee meeting we can also exchange the grip and the password. It only takes a minute but gives each member a special reminder of our shared AOII values.
Although it is secret, the grip may be exchanged as a greeting at any time (not just preceding a Ritual or Ceremony) as long as it is done with the utmost discretion. In such situations, the password must not be said aloud. This means that collegians and alumnae can grip when they meet another AOII in a public place. If in public, it may seem awkward to try it but it is worth the delight of celebrating this special gesture together. Let the sister know that you would like to exchange the grip in silence and make eye contact as you discreetly grip. I did this recently with an alumna sister I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Afterwards she smiled widely and said, “That was so nice, I haven’t done that in years.”
Join RT&J in participating in the “Year of the Grip” as we complete AOII’s 125th Anniversary celebration year and move toward our in-person 2023 AOII International Convention in June. We hope each member will reach out as often as possible in the joy of greeting another AOII by exchanging our grip.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org