Queima das Fitas, the Ribbons Burning Party

Everything you need to know about the traditional university party in Coimbra.

Students Burning the Ribbons

Coimbra is a university city and that title also ends up being its postcard. The university is in the upper part of the city, where the academic life and the festival Queima das Fitas take place. 

Queima das Fitas festival started at the end of the 19th century when law students decided to make the first burn of the ribbons that marked their folders, as they would not need them the next year. It has become a tradition all over the country, but as the University of Coimbra is the oldest one, this is a very special practice for its students.

During their academic life, students receive fabric ribbons that are placed in their academic folders. Each course has a different color and at the end of the academic period, there is a party that celebrates this passage in students’ life. The event lasts for days and ends with “burning the ribbons”, literally.

Medicine Students with their Ribbons and Folders

The festivities of Queima das Fitas in Coimbra take place every year in May. They start officially with the Monumental Serenade at Sé Velha, after which the celebrations begin.

The parade is one of the most wanted moments for everyone because it happens on the streets, it’s free and everyone can participate and have fun. It’s the moment when the floats leave the University with the graduates on top drinking and celebrating along the main town streets, where a crowd of family, friends or just curious people get together.

Noites do Parque (Nights at the Park) is a show where national and international artists are called to perform for several nights during this traditional party. There is also the Bohemian Supper, which is a meeting between graduates and novices, where the elders teach the youngsters some things about academic life.

Are you excited about Queima das Fitas? Get ready for the event in May. Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal when posting your pictures 😉.

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