Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Day 5: Tailcoats and tours

Today marks the first day of class, and the first day of “Frackwoche” or “Tailcoat Week” (the English translation) here in Winterthur.
Today marks the first day of class, and the first day of “Frackwoche” or “Tailcoat Week” (the English translation) here in Winterthur.


Tailcoat week is an annual tradition for the graduates of Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) since 1925. Male students must follow a beard contract, where they may not shave for the 100 days leading up to tailcoat week. Female students must also follow specific weird rules in the days leading up to tailcoat week. Female students could be seen carrying volleyballs to class, wearing childish backpacks, or fluorescent vests, etc.

Beginning today, soon-to-be graduates must dress in fancy tailcoats or dresses. The beards and fancy dress are symbolic for the students, representing the entrance into the adult world. Throughout the week various festivities occur including concerts, parties, and the “barricading” of university buildings on the third day (students must perform an unusual task to be let in to go to class).


Today, before our afternoon lectures, we took a tour of ZHAW campus, Old Town, and Rosengarten in Winterthur. Despite the rainy weather, we were treated with pretty views of Winterthur, and we still encountered plenty of tailcoats on our walks.







Tomorrow following classes, we will get to participate in the tailcoat week festivities, joining the Swiss students for drinks and sausage. Observing and interacting with the students during so far this week has been such a great cultural experience for all of us!


--
Mason E..

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