BEER CANTUS: “You have to be there, you can’t explain this to people!”
Italian exchange student Luisa Marotta (23) stayed in Tilburg till January. After that she went back to her home university in Rome, where she is the editor in chief of Globe Trotter (the local Univers, if we may). The past few months Luisa wrote a few blogs for us. Below she again shares some eternal Tilburg memories…
The first thing I learned from TOP Week here in Tilburg, is that Dutch people really know how to party!
Here parties are way different from those in Italy; my home country. Usually when I go out in Rome I dress fancy, with high heels and make up. In Tilburg however, this kind of outfit may not be a good choice and the Beer Cantus actually proved it. (Unless you like looking like a panda, with black make up all over your face and a beer-smelling dress.)
Byyy the wayyy.. Apart from my panda face and clothes smelling of beer, for sure the Beer Cantus has been the most amazing activity we had during the TOP Week! Can you imagine hundreds of excited students singing and drinking like fools? Well no.. you can’t. And even if you could, reality would be better and offset your imagination! As my lovely mentor Yoshin told me: “You have to be there, you can’t explain this to people!”, and she is so damn right. Thus, it’s really hard for me to describe it to you in words (especially with fuzzy and blurred alcoholic memories), but I’ll do my best.
I actually arrived in NSKoepelhal late, in my perfect Italian style, but I think I didn’t miss any part of the cantus. The first thing that the organizers pointed out were all the strict RULES we had to follow. It was weird, but in essence the meaning of all those rules was: “You are allowed to go crazy, but when we tell you to shut up and sit down, you all do what we order and shut the f**k up”. Ok Boss, message received! The weirdest rule was that we could not go outside to pee. In practice, this implied that we had to keep partying, dancing and singing with our bladders FULL of beer. Hilarious!
Everything started with a student parade, with Dutch students dressed up like freaks walking all over the place. And of course with the Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem- after that hell was unleashed! Basically, we sang several songs and at the end of each song we had to drink a glass of beer while shouting:
Trink, trink, Brüderlein trink,
Laß doch die Sorgen zu Haus!
Trink, trink, Brüderlein trink,
Meide den Kummer und meide den Schmerz,
Dannist das Leben ein Scherz!
I have to admit it took me a LOT to realize that this refrain was in German and not in Dutch −LOL–. Most of the songs we ‘performed’ were in Dutch, so we had a good time trying to figure out the words and their pronunciation. To cut a long story short: I think the results were really bad, but it was tons of fun!
Cantus is a drug, once you have tried it you become addicted!
At the end of the cantus we stared dancing on the tables and throwing beer in each others faces! This was definitely the best part of the day! (Now you may understand why I told you about the beer smelling clothes at the beginning…)
I’m really considering the idea of coming back to Tilburg in April for the International Cantus… Cantus is a drug, once you have tried it you become addicted! Seriously, I think I will import this tradition in Italy… I’ll keep you updated!