Bologna · Italian Culture

The Anthem of Bologna

Dottore, dottore! Dottore del buso del cul! Vaffancul, vaffancul!

Bologna is a university town so every week there is a fresh batch of students that graduate with their PhDs. These graduation celebrations usually begin in the mornings where the student is given a laurel wreath crown and a crowd of family members follows him or her around, snapping many pictures along the way.

After lunch, the crowd of family members is switched out for a crowd of rowdy friends. What follows is a peculiar way of celebration, along with the above song echoing throughout the porticos of the city. Let’s just say the tune is not the most polite. Each group of students has a slightly different way of celebrating but it often involves some kind of costume and always involves lots and lots of drinking.

One of the most memorable costumes I’ve seen was the graduate dressed as Frida Kahlo (with a unibrow sloppily drawn on with marker), complete with an artichoke used as a microphone as she sang into it, her group of fake-mustache-wearing friends laughing hysterically as they bounced from bar to bar. I then saw the group a few hours later and the graduate was being shuffled along, leaning on her friends since she could hardly stand (no artichoke microphone in sight, though).

Part of the graduation fun also involves embarrassing photos or caricatures of the student being taped on the walls of the school for everyone to see. Apparently, these are allowed to stay up for a full 24 hours.

As foreign as it seems, one thing is for sure: students in Italy have certainly mastered the concept of working hard and playing hard.

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7 thoughts on “The Anthem of Bologna

  1. Thank you for sharing this article. It generates in us the curiosity though as to when and how these activities become the norm. Do they do because they want to do or do they do because that is what they are expected to do? Its amazing how alcohol can cause us to do some strange things.

    Liked by 2 people

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