Burning of the Ribbons
Coimbra throws a ‘Queima das Fitas’ party for its new graduates. Put on your Faculty’s colours and have a good time!
This student celebration, that is held every year starting in May has become a Coimbra tourist attraction, attracting thousands of spectators to its parades, dances and serenades. These parties celebrate the end of the academic year and the beginning of the month of preparation that precedes final exams.
A wave of joy and enthusiasm crashes down on Coimbra when a throng of students gather in front of the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) to hear the traditional serenade. This is the Song of Coimbra that officially starts the famous academic party known as the ‘Queima das Fitas’ (‘Burning of the Ribbons’). nFor a week, the city is the site of countless cultural events, with the most well known being, among others, the Sarau Académico (Academic Social Gathering), the Baile de Gala (Gala Ball), the Garraiada (Bullock Fight) in Figueira da Foz, and the Chá Dançante (Tea Dance).
Yet the most important and well-attended event takes place in the Largo da Feira. There, the grelo (student's badge consisting of a ribbon of the colour of his / her faculty) is burned in the chamber pot used during the initiation rites (praxe) that took place in students’ first year in university. The ribbons are burned in order to symbolise the new status of the graduates.
The celebration always ends with a joyful and colourful show. Students, riding in cars, wave to the crowd as they head towards the Baixa (downtown area), sharing their euphoria and irreverence with the city.