Burning of the Ribbons

Burning of the Ribbons (Queima das Fitas)

The Burning of the Ribbons is an eight-day festival that transforms the Portuguese city of Coimbra into a lively festival with music and merriment abounding. The event is centered around a tradition, dating from the 19th century, that is perpetuated by students at the University of Coimbra (the oldest in Portugal). At the end of the second semester (typically in May), the students ceremoniously burn the ribbons (one per day) that represent each of the eight faculties at the institution: Letters, Law, Medicine, Sciences & Technology, Pharmacy, Economics, Psychology & Education Sciences, and Sports Sciences & Physical Education.
Over the course of the eight days, numerous concerts and performances take place. Other highlights include sporting events, a gala ball, and a traditional nighttime serenade at the steps of the Old Cathedral of Coimbra. Thousands of students, townspeople, and tourists gather for the spirited performance. Another high point is the cortejo, an elaborate parade featuring floats bearing the respective colors of each faculty. They are accompanied by placards displaying criticisms of particular teachers, of politicians, and of the education system.
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