O Cortejo

In Portugal people like students. Academic life is everywhere and everything. It gives each city/town a sense of pride, and the students must behave in a certain way and are encouraged to take part in traditional ceremonies.

Praxe is the name given to the student traditions in Portuguese Universities.

In first year, the students are known as Caloiros. They are babies, and so are baptised with alcohol and then later in a local pond/water feature.

Older years, who wear Harry Potter-esque capes and suits make them crawl on all fours and generally do bizarre things in public.

Throughout the years, taking part in said strange activities gains them badges and the really old important students get to march around with huge wooden spoons.

Yes. Spoons.

In their final year they parade through the city, sing a lot of fado, cry, and then have a week long festival in a field. Muito alcohol is consumed and there is good music.

Being old, and graduated the final years are allowed to wear top hats and have walking sticks which they use to bash other final years on the head with. Three times.

This senhora is loving it.

Praxe tends to divide people: is it taken too seriously? Are the students downright intimidating? A bunch of pretentious bullies? Or, just maybe, they are part of a beautiful tradition, that other countries could learn a lot from...

Either way about it, they are pretty crazy cats.

I will end this post with an appropriate quote from Shakira,

'Soy loca con mi tigre, LOCA, LOCA, LOCA'.