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May: Time for Portuguese students to burn their ribbons

With an ancient academic tradition, that had its roots in Coimbra, where one of the Europe's oldest universities was founded back in 1290, Portuguese students still wear black capes, and follow the "praxe" codes.

Every year in May, during the Academic Week, students ending their first year in college will celebrate by gathering ribbons from their families and friend, who write their best wishes on them, and then burn them as an act of transition to the next level, where they are no longer considered freshman. This is also the time for the freshmen to be officially allowed to wear the black the cape (that actually inspired J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter) and be blessed in a 'baptism' by their godfathers, usually older students that help them throughout the school year. 

Queima das fitas

With few changes from one city to another, capes  can change to represent different colleges, some schools have their own rules and code of conduct set by the Praxe committee which can be different, but the common ground will be the celebration of the new students and the goodbye to the ones that are graduating and get their ribbons 'blessed' at an official ceremony. 

It is also a week of concerts and parties across academic cities. From Braga, to Porto, to Guarda, to Aveiro, to Coimbra, to Lisbon or the Algarve, you will find a Queimodromo: the venue where students have their improvised stands selling food and drinks to raise money for their fun. Like an amusement  park, this is where live shows take place everyday, carousels and roller coaster get crowded  and games and more food are included. 


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