October 30, 2013 by mariannat92
I haven’t managed to post in a while, but as I have a Portuguese Literature exam tomorrow morning, for which I am hideously unprepared, I decided that now would be a good time for an update. SO. Let’s begin.
Last week was the Festa das Latas, or simply Latada, a huge student festival here that officially welcomes the freshers to the university. It’s part of the praxe, an official set of rules and rituals that govern university life at Coimbra. In case you hadn’t noticed by now, tradition is pretty important in this neck of the woods…
In keeping with the traditions of the university, the Festa das Latas begins with the Serenata, a fado concert at the foot of Sé Nova Cathedral. I forgot to bring my camera, so here is a nice little video I found on Youtube… It was very serious, which for some reason I really wasn’t expecting, but the singing was absolutely incredible so I can’t complain!
After the Serenata, the Festa goes for a whole week in the form of a nightly music festival on the other side of the river. I went to most nights and saw loads of artists, from La Roux to Quim Barreiros (look him up, he’s surprisingly popular!) I was really impressed by the festival, it felt really professional and I can’t imagine Manchester uni pulling off such a huge and well-organised event!
The Annie of Liberty
The absolutely bizarre Quim Barreiros… Strangely enjoyable
On the penultimate day of the festival the university goes absolutely MENTAL. This is the Cortejo, which parades the freshers down from the University to the river to be ‘baptised’, via copious amounts of beer and lot of frankly ridiculous fancy dress costumes. Luckily for me, my friends live on Avenida Sa da Bandeira (near the beginning of the parade route) and they have a balcony, so we all got together there to watch!
Ready and waiting…
As part of their costumes, the freshers have to carry plastic hats which will then be used to baptise them. Seems pretty harsh to make them go along with all this nonsense, but it turns out the hats have one major upside – you can beg for beer money with them! These girls managed to beg a couple of euros from us, and here they are throwing us up some sweets in exchange.
As with student events worldwide, cross-dressing proves pretty popular at Latada… The trolleys are an institution here and each course tries to get hold of one to carry alcohol or just lazy second years down to the river – my housemate spent a good few hours hunting for one the night before the parade!
And here it is! The Cortejo (austerity-protest themed of course, this is Portugal after all) led by the union Executive team
Each faculty has its own songs which the freshers have to chant all the way down. This is Psychology and, for those of you who speak Portuguese, is one of their more polite songs so enjoy it while it lasts.
Since the freshers had all been drinking since the morning, the quality of the singing did start to go downhill after this and it all got a bit chaotic, so we all headed down to the Baixa for a chilli at mine, and then on to the festival!
The Latada was a brilliant week and it’s made me even more excited for the Queima das Fitas, an even bigger festival that happens in May to celebrate graduation. Watch this space!