Krakow is a city of students - and students love to party, listen to good music and drink gallons of beer.
And since Krakow loves its students, it provides them with what they need - this is the unofficial reason for creating the Juwenalia, a students' holiday organized all around Poland, usually in May.
The Juwenalia traditionally include parades, raising money for overcoming the hardships of students' life and a symbolic gesture of giving the students the keys to the city, as well as (less officially) some hard partying. So if you want to feel like a real student, come to Krakow during the Juwenalia.
History of the Juwenalia
The name “Juwenalia” derives from the Latin “Iuvenalia”, a feast given by Roman Emperors on January 1st each year. In Poland, Juwenalia (having no connection with the Antique ones) were introduced in Krakow - where else? - in 1954, but some of the traditions were much older - the Jagiellonian University students were receiving the symbolic key to the city of Krakow since the medieval times. Since then Juwenalia were organized yearly, except 1981 - May was the month of the attempted assassination of John Paul II.
With starting in the beginning of May, traditional point of celebrating the Juwenalia, is the march of the colorful parades of students of the Krakow Universities, who gather at the Rynek, and are given the keys to the city by the Mayor of Krakow. Apart from that, each university organizes its own part of the Juwenalia, which include concerts, cabaret performances, different sports events as well as simply parties. Usually, the bigger the university, the bigger its Juwenalia, and, of course, everyone's invited.
For the last few years, the biggest part of the Juwenalia isn't organized by the Jagiellonian University or the AGH University of Science and Technology - Krakow's biggest universities - but is rather a co-operation of all Krakow schools with the authorities and several sponsors (usually including a brewery - so you know what to expect). It is composed of several smaller events, and a grand, Juwenalia Concert, bringing some of Poland's most popular rock stars to the Wisla Krakow Stadium. Contrary to other events of the Juwenalia, to participate in this one, you need to buy a ticket.
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