TikTok Is Ripping Into Yale's Dystopian Holiday Dinner

You are what you eat, they say — which is why large-scale dinner parties are often used as a means of flaunting extravagant wealth. But sometimes, it seems, it is possible to host a dinner so over-the-top that your gala goes from elegant to eat-the-rich in the time it takes you to say "champagne fountain."


Replying to @mer we are IN the hunger games, wake up society (just kidding... or am I 🤨🤷🏻‍♀️) #yale #hungergames #hungergamescatchingfire #katniss #balladofsongbirdsandsnakes #theballadofsongbirdsandsnakes #tbosas #thehungergames #katnisseverdeen #yaleuniversity #yalefood #yalefoodie #college #yaledining #yaledininghall #gilmoregirls #rorygilmore #yalerory

♬ original sound – ellensaep / el ➳

Yale University has recently come under scrutiny from — where else? — TikTok, thanks to its elaborate holiday dinner for incoming freshman students. This Ivy League tradition includes elaborate decor, ice sculptures, stilt walkers, and decadent food (whole lobsters, sushi, a ten-foot loaf of bread, we're talking the weirdest and wildest recipes you can imagine), which is presented in a grand demonstration called the "Parade of Comestibles," accompanied by a marching band. Imagine less charcuterie chalets and more charcuterie châteaux. While ostensibly a treasured tradition and an opportunity for freshman students to celebrate the end of their first semester, its outsized lavishness has earned quite a few raised eyebrows.

The Yale dining hall

It's no secret that most prestigious American universities have endowments that are borderline obscene, especially considering how much students shell out to attend. But it is a little jarring to actually see evidence of where all that money goes. (Particularly if you've recently checked your student loan balance.) Yale has already made headlines for its famously gourmet dining hall (think saffron butter fingerling potatoes and ube pancakes), and its offerings are well documented by Yale student @emmezhou, who frequently posts her dining hall meals on TikTok. Clearly, a lobster and sushi parade isn't so far off the mark.


yale holiday dinner accidentally radicalized me #yale #marxism #socialism #ivyleague #college #harvard #storytime

♬ original sound – caitlyn 🌹

Still, Yale alum and TikTok user @c.a.i.t.l.y.n posted that she was "radicalized" by the dinner as a freshman, and that its opulence pushed her political leanings far to the left. Another user, @mildredsauce, compared it to the dinner parties in "The Hunger Games," where wealthy Capitol residents literally eat themselves sick while the outer districts starve. And while Yale isn't the only university to flaunt its wealth through food (NYU has hosted Thanksgiving dinners for study abroad students in the Eiffel Tower), it certainly seems to be generating some hangry reactions.