There are some really old Universities in the world – and some of these have some really old traditions. Now, although most of the traditions that are still alive today are perfectly normal, some have kept alive really popular, iconic or strange University traditions. Here are our selections of the world’s strangest University traditions:
The university’s Eve at the University of Salamanca
Those who want to celebrate the year twice will meet in Salamanca for the “Noche Vieja Universitaria” with students of the oldest university in Spain. It all began with the spontaneous gathering of a couple of friends in the Plaza Mayor just over a decade and is now a huge event. Basically, two thursdays before christmas (or thereabouts) more than 40,000 people in Salamanca enjoy a fun night out that begins with grapes at midnight and ends in the bars downtown.
Legendary rivalry: Regatta universities of Oxford and Cambridge
The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge is as old as its universities and can be felt close to the legendary race that takes place every March in West London, specifically between Putney and Mortlake. The first race was in 1829 when two friends and students from the respective universities decided to organize an official challenge. Today thousands of people follow the event on TV or watch the race live in Putney or Hammersmith. So far Oxford has won 79 races and Cambridge 81, so things are very competitive.
Athletics: Penn Relays, University of Pennsylvania
Sports enthusiasts can enjoy, in Philadelphia, the oldest and busiest Athletics Event in the United States. It is held every April in Franklin Field and has 15,000 athletes competing in more than 300 tests during the five days of the event, the influx of visitors exceeds 100,000 people. It’s a chance to see the future Olympic stars in the event that popularized relay races.
Bash before exams: Queima das Fitas, University of Coimbra
It is one of the most outstanding student holidays in Europe and is symbolized by the burning of ribbons representing each faculty. Students celebrate the end of the academic year before final exams and do so in style, with parades, music, sports and many other activities for an entire week. Not only students of Coimbra participate, but locals and thousands of visitors join the party, beginning at twelve o’clock the first Friday in May.
Dip in the North Sea: May Dip, University of Saint Andrews
The University of Saint Andrews (the oldest in Scotland) has a rather peculiar tradition! On the first of May, students go bathe in the North Sea at sunrise after a very long night of partying. The night itself is a big event, with barbecue on the beach and other cool events.
Treasure Hunt: Scavenger Hunt, University of Chicago
The following of clues and finding hidden objects, is no longer just kid stuff. Chicago hosts the largest “treasure hunt” of the world, as listed by the Guinness Book of World Records, since 1987. During four days thousands of people take part in this quest to find 300 objects. The size of the game is such that it often requires spending the night walking or driving hundreds of kilometers.
Photographs by Flickr users: Nuwandalice, Tim_Big, ale, Amanda Cegielski, Renata F. Oliveira, aechase, and Quinn Dombrowski.
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