Cambridge University students enjoy their first May Balls since before pandemic
Students from Cambridge University make their way home after celebrating the end of the academic year at a May Ball in Trinity College (Joe Giddens/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Joe Giddens

Cambridge University students celebrated the end of their exams with their first May Ball in three years, since before the first national coronavirus lockdown.

The first Trinity May Ball was held in 1866, with the tradition quickly spreading to other colleges, but events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cambridge University May BallsStudents from Cambridge University make their way home after celebrating the end of the academic year at a May Ball in Trinity College (Joe Giddens/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Joe Giddens

Organisers of this year’s 156th anniversary event said it would enjoy the “rich tradition” of “delightful music, inspiring fireworks and enchanting cuisine”.

Guests, who paid at least £330 for a sought-after double ticket to Monday’s event, were promised “Cambridge’s best Ball, an unrivalled showcase of revelry — unlimited food and drink, a stunning fireworks display, and a myriad of entertainments from chart-topping stars to world-class comedians to the finest classical and jazz musicians.”

Cambridge University May BallsStudents enjoyed the first May Balls since 2019, with events in 2020 and 2021 cancelled due to the pandemic. (Joe Giddens/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Joe Giddens

Students, in black tie and ball gowns, made their way home through the city’s streets as the sun rose on Tuesday.

In years gone by, some of Britain’s brightest students have engaged in hedonistic behaviour, stripping off and jumping in the river.

Cambridge University May BallsPunts filled the River Cam as people watched a firework display during the Trinity May Ball at Cambridge University’s Trinity College (Joe Giddens/ PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Joe Giddens

The ball has been held every year since 1866, apart from 1910, when King Edward VII died, during the Second World War between 1939 and 1945, and in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A series of balls is held to mark the end of term, with various colleges hosting them.

Cambridge University May BallsThe first Trinity May Ball was held in 1866 (Joe Giddens/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Joe Giddens

Despite now taking place in June they are still called the May Balls as that is when they were originally held.

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