Porto and Northern Portugal go hand in hand with academic tradition. In May, the cities of the north that are home to universities, such as Porto, Braga and Vila Real see their streets invaded, not only by the academic spirit of those that study there, but also by those that visit to see the famous Semanas Académicas (Academic Weeks) that the societies of each university prepare for their students.
This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the oldest student traditions in Northern Portugal. Some of the events are exclusively for students, however, others are open to the general public, such as the numerous concerts that have both Portuguese and international artists on the bill. Here, you will be able to rub shoulders with the youth of the city, spend a unique night, and head home with some unforgettable memories.
Porto’s Queima das Fitas
In each of the cities, the week that commemorates the end of the academic year takes on various forms. In Porto, this week is known as the Queima das Fitas (Portuguese for Ribbon Burning) and in 2015 events will take place between 3 – 10 May in the “Queimódromo”, located next to the Parque da Cidade. Organized by the Academic Federation of Porto, the Queima is made up of different activities, which include the Monumental Serenata, the Missa da Benção das Pastas, the Cortejo Académico, the Ibérico Festival, the Gala Dance and the Garraiadas, among others.
The week attracts around 350,000 visitors to Porto and presents a unique opportunity to experience the city from a different perspective, while the non-stop party atmosphere also makes it a great time to discover Porto’s nightlife.
Braga’s Enterro da Gata
It is in Braga where the celebrations probably have the most original name: Enterro da Gata (Burial of the Cat). The origins of this name are from the 19th century, with the “gata” representing the unsuccessful student. A wake takes place in which the “gata” is carried through the city streets of Braga, followed by a train that relentlessly cries and wails for the deceased.
In 2015, the Enterro da Gata runs from 8 – 16 May. The 8th is reserved for the Velório da Gata (The Cat’s Wake) and the Serenade at Largo do Paço. Concerts take place at Alameda do Estádio Municipal de Braga (Gatódromo) between the nights of the 9 – 15 May. The festivities close with the traditional arraial minhoto (open air festival typical of the region) on 16 May. The University of Minho Academic Association is in charge of events and tickets are now on sale to all of this year’s concerts.
Academic Week in Vila Real
The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro will also be celebrating the end of the academic year with 2015’s events taking place between 23 – 29 April. The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro Academic Association is in charge of organizing events for the Semana Académica, which includes a number of concerts and promises to bring the energy and fun of student life to the city streets.
Come to Porto and Northern Portugal to discover its traditions and to experience the city alongside those that live there. The university end of year celebrations are a unique opportunity to do just that. Find out where you can stay and get in touch with us so that we can help you to include this unforgettable experience in your next visit to the region.