Gaudemus Igitur, the international traditional student’s anthem

This is the original latin text of ‘Gaudemus Igitur’ one of the most famous student songs sang throughout the student organisations: from Spain, to Sweden, Italy to Germany. Originally written by the Goliards, it is based on a Latin manuscript of 1287 but the music we associate with it was composed in 1880. It is still sang today as a popular university drinking song and as a graduation hymn.

Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post icundum iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Let us therefore rejoice,
While we are young;
After our youth,
After a troublesome old age
The ground will hold us.
Vita nostra brevis est,
Brevi finietur;
Venit mors velociter,
Rapit nos atrociter;
Nemini parcetur.
Our life is brief,
It will shortly end;
Death comes quickly,
Cruelly snatches us;
No-one is spared.
Ubi sint qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos,
Transite in inferos
Hos si vis videre.
Where are those who before us
Existed in the world?
You may go up to the gods,
You may cross into the underworld
If you wish to see them.
Vivat academia,
Vivant professores,
Vivat membrum quodlibet,
Vivat membra quaelibet;
Semper sint in flore!
Long live the university,
Long live the teachers,
Long live each male student,
Long live each female student;
May they always flourish!
Vivat et republica
Et qui illam regit.
Vivat nostra civitas,
Maecenatum caritas
Quae nos hic protegit.
Long live the state
And those who rule it.
Long live our city,
And the charity of benefactors
Which protects us here.
Vivant omnes virgines,
Faciles, formosae!
Vivant et mulieres,
Tenerae, amabiles,
Bonae, laboriosae.
Long live all young women,
Easy and beautiful!
Long live wives as well,
Tender, loveable,
Honest, hardworking.
Pereat tristitia,
Pereant osores.
Pereat diabolus,
Quivis antiburschius
Atque irrisores!
Perish sadness,
Perish haters.
Perish the devil,
Whoever is against the student fraternity,
As well those who mock us!
Quis confluxus hodie
E longinquo convenerunt,
Protinusque successerunt
In commune forum.
Who has gathered now
Of the university?
They gather from long distances,
Immediately joining
Our common forum.
Vivat nostra societas,
Vivant studiosi!
Crescat una veritas,
Floreat fraternitas,
Patriae prosperitas.
Long live our fellowship,
Long live the studious!
May truth and honesty thrive,
Flourish with our fraternity,
And our homeland be prosperous.
Alma Mater floreat,
Quae nos educavit;
Caros et commilitones,
Dissitas in regiones
Sparsos, congregavit.
May our Alma Mater thrive,
That which educated us;
Dear ones and comrades,
Who we let scatter afar,
Let us assemble.

Student Organisations: Nations, Goliardia and Colleges

After my experience studying at Uppsala University I decided to write my History bachelor thesis on student societies from their medieval roots to modern day. The question I’m asking is whether there is a transnational connection between the different student societies and in what they are similar or differ.

Valborg in Uppsala

Valborg in Uppsala

The element of drinking and having a good time is definitely a common trait throughout history and space but I believe there is much more to it than meets the eye.

Many traditional organisations have actual rituals of initiation, some more symbolic than others, that aim to welcome the new student into the university world, leaving behind childhood in seek for knowledge and experience.

The ‘Nation’ is one of the oldest student organisations that dates back to Medieval times and was a group of students who helped each other settle-in to the university city and provided a social club for people from the same territory. This form of association was present in Italy, France, Scotland and other European countries but has now only survived in the universities of Uppsala and Lund in Sweden and some Finnish universities.

Colleges came at a later date and were formed to provide accommodation for students who lived outside the university city and were often connected to monastic orders or to pre-existent fraternities. These can be found in the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge and other UK universities.

Goliardia, the oldest of the three organisations mentioned, started in Italy in medieval times from a group of ‘clerici vagantes’, students who travelled following the lecturer to different universities that for social or financial reasons did not have the right to follow university courses.

Each student organisation has its symbols, coat of arms and traditions. One of the most common is that of wearing a student cap:

The Student Cap

In many student societies there is a traditional hat which distinguishes the members of the club and this varies from state to state. In Italy the ‘Goliardi’ wear a hat that resembles the shape of Robin Hood’s hat and each member would have small badges attached to it to symbolise different things. .The colour of the hat would vary according to the degree course studied. In Belgium the hat has a different shape but has similar badges to the Italian one and is called Calotte. The calotte originates from the skullcap worn by the Papal regiment around 1860. The calotte is cylindrical, made from velvet and astrakhan. In Scandinavia instead they wear a white cap which looks like a sailor’s hat, except for the Norwegian one which is in black velvet.

Scandinavian Student Hats. The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish (1945).

Scandinavian Student Hats. The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish (1945).

Where you part of a student organisation? Did you have any traditions in your association? If you do please get in touch! You would be of great help.

Student Traditions

The concept of ‘Student Tradition’ is something that if one asked me a year ago I would never have imagined it being of such importance let alone a possible topic to write one’s dissertation on!

What are these traditions?

They are a series of rituals, costumes and ‘ways of being’ that have distinguished the student population from the ‘normal people’.

In some old universities you can still feel this atmosphere but it is not easy to get into these closed communities and if you are not a student you can see only the outside of it.

J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter captivated the world with beautiful the castle and student traditions songs and rivalries that pick up a lot of authentic traditions in the university world.

My mission is to try to uncover the past of these traditions and comparing the differences between the various universities and the different countries.

Did you have student traditions in your university? What were they like? What did you enjoy most?