Each year, the Hogwarts Deputy Head sends letters to eligible witches and wizards who will be eleven years old. These letters invite the children to be students at Hogwarts. If for any reason a letter does not reach its intended recipient, owls will continue delivering letters until the person receives one. The letter contains a list of needed supplies, signed by the Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions, Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus, which includes uniform clothing, spell books, and cauldrons. Letters are also sent to existing students to inform them of the new supplies needed. Students usually obtain school supplies at Diagon Alley in London.
Letters to Muggle-born witches and wizards (who live with muggles and know nothing of the wizarding world), who may not be aware of their powers and are unfamiliar with the concealed wizarding world, are delivered in person by a member of Hogwarts staff, who then explain to the parents/guardians about magical society, and reassure them regarding this news. They also assist the family in regards to buying supplies and gaining access to Diagon Alley.
Students are allowed to bring a cat, an owl or a toad, but many exceptions such as rats and pygmy puffs are made.
Term begins on 1 September. Students usually reach Hogwarts via the Hogwarts Express, which leaves from Platform 9 3/4 of London’s King’s Cross Station at 11 a.m. sharp. There seemed to be other ways of entering the school, such as via brooms or Floo powder, or simply Apparating to a nearby location such as Hogsmeade. Missing the Hogwarts Express for any reason is a very serious problem but will not cost the student points, because the term has not officially started.
After the Hogwarts Express arrives, students depart for the school accompanied by chaperones. First year students travel to the castle via small boats. The boats sail from the edge of the Black Lake, under an opening in the rocks upon which Hogwarts is built, through a curtain of ivy, and finally into an underground harbour. Older students travel on the road in carriages pulled by Thestrals.
Upon arrival at the Great Hall, new students are sorted into Houses by the Sorting Hat. After all new students have been sorted, a feast begins to welcome everyone to the new school year.
After dinner, students are led to their House Common room by a Prefect. This is a special time for new students to get comfortable with their surroundings, because the next day classes begin.
What The Year Looks Like:
The school year at Hogwarts begins on 1 September: at 11 a.m., on the Hogwarts Express. There, they can use magic without breaking wizarding laws. The Hogwarts Express leaves King’s Cross Station, bringing students to Hogsmeade Station, where the first years traditionally cross the lake in boats with the Gamekeeper, and the second through seventh years ride carriages pulled by Thestrals up to the Hogwarts Castle (the Thestrals are generally invisible to students except those who have witnessed death). The Welcoming Feast takes place in the Great Hall. This feast includes the Sorting ceremony, followed by a few words from the current Headmaster, the banquet starts after this, including large quantities of food and drink. The feast is closed with a few more words from the Headmaster, but it also included the usual “start-of-term notices”. Classes start the next day (September 2nd). The class schedules are handed out during breakfast by the Heads of House.
After two weeks of classes, the Quidditch team trials and Flying lessons for the first years usually occur. Classes will proceed normally and the next notable event occurs on the evening of 31 October: the Halloween feast. Decorations include giant jack-o-lanterns and flocks of hundreds of bats flying across the halls. The served foods include pumpkin treats, tarts, cakes and all sorts of magical sweets. The Quidditch season starts usually with the first Quidditch match in the first weeks of November. In the second week of December, the Deputy Head takes names of those who are staying at Hogwarts over the Christmas holidays. The first term usually ends about a week before Christmas and most of the students and some of the teachers go home by the school train. In Triwizard Tournament years, the Yule Balloccurs on the evening of Christmas Eve, ending at midnight. On 25 December, a Christmas feast is held in the Great Hall. Shortly after January 1st, the Hogwarts Express returns to Hogsmeade; the second term begins. The exact dates of the beginning of the Easter holidays vary every year. During these holidays, the students may go home. The final exams are held the first week of June and the results come out on the second week. In the evening before the Hogwarts Express goes back to London, the End-of-Term Feast is held. The Hogwarts Express returns to London during the third week of June. All staff and students leave Hogwarts during the summer except for the caretaker and gamekeeper
The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast in the Great Hall. During breakfast, the mail arrives in a flurry of hundreds of owls. A bell chime signals the start of the first class at 9 a.m. The bell chimes again in one hour to signal the start of the next class.
There is a break between the second class and the following class, making for three classes and a break before lunch. After lunch, there is another break and two more classes.
Supper is served in the Great Hall towards evening, after which the students are expected to be in their House common rooms for studying and socializing.
There is an Astronomy class at night on Wednesday every week (usually midnight).
The students must be in bed or in the common rooms by a certain time, after which is called after hours. The times are different for different years (for example, fifth years are allowed to be in the halls until 9:00).
Students may go home for certain holidays such as Christmas. The students who choose to remain are treated to a feast along with some of the faculty.
When Christmas holidays end, classes begin again. In Harry Potter’s second year, Gilderoy Lockhart organised aValentine’s Day celebration. It was not continued after he left the school. The Easter holidays are not as enjoyable as the Christmas ones, as students are overloaded with homework in preparation for their exams, which are taken at the end of the year. Students are not allowed to use magic over the summer holidays until they turn seventeen.