This is the most important week in Oporto students life! For four (or more!) years they live to the expectations of this week party. Well, at least most of them! It’s a time of joy, a time of anxiety befor the final exams and also a time for
many to say goodbye to the student life. But it’s somthing unique that unites all the students in the city downtown.
We’ll give you some of the history but, to feel it, you have to be here! We have the perfect place for you to stay and even can arrange you with all the details you need: tickets, taxi, etc!
‘Till Sunday, the party goes on! email us for details: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Porto’s Queima das Fitas, is a major event in the first week of May, before the beginning of the study period preceding the school year’s last exams. The week comprehends 12 events, starting with the Monumental Serenata on Sunday, reaching its peak with the Cortejo Académico on Tuesday, when students from the universities and other higher education institutions of the city march through the downtown streets till they reach the city hall, where they’re greeted (and greet back) by the Mayor. During every night of the week a series of concerts takes place on the Queimódromo, next to the city’s park; here it’s also a tradition for the students in the second last year to erect small tents where alcoholic beverages are sold in order to finance the trip that takes place during the last year of their course.
During the parade through the city, different year students wear and play different parts: – the graduates (the last year students) wear a top-hat and a walking-cane, both the colour of their Faculty; – the sophomores wear the traditional costume with their capes fully crossed; – the freshmen (who after being greeted by the Mayor become sophomores) wear funny/silly outfits (usually with carnival props related to baby-costumes) the same colour as their Faculty, sing songs as loud as they can, do some sort of group dances, usually get hazed a little bit, and when they get to the Town Hall have to crawl on their hands and feet to walk by the Mayor.
Porto’s Queima was the first to reborn after the 1974 revolution. In 1978 there was a first try with a Mini-Queima, with only a few faculties involved and having to stand fierce hostility. In 1979 a “Traditional Queima” was put up by an almost clandestine organising committee, gathering students from most of the public faculties: Engineering, Medicine, Economics, Pharmacy, Letters, Science.
This team managed to frustrate the boycott efforts of left-wing students that opposed the celebration, and offered to the academy and the city the full traditional range of activities, that started with a Saturday to Sunday late night Serenade (starting at 00:01h), with traditional Coimbra Fado songs, in the courtyard of Porto’s Cathedral. The programme included the blessing of the students’s biefcases’, decorated with ribbons (“Fitas”) of the colour of each faculty, a Charity Day where all revenue from the selling of small cardboard briefcases with poems (some original and cheerfully offered by poet Pedro Homem de Mello) was given to a charity institution, several balls, rallye-paper, Garraiada (mock-up bullfight with small calfs) and, specially, a huge parade that attracted an assistance of more than 150,000 that blocked Porto’s downtown for several hours, cheering the students and showing that the Queima had its place in the city’s celebrations.
History by wikipedia.org | Foto via Publico – Fernando Veludo