Cambridge's infamous 'Caesarian Sunday' passes without incident - Native American headdresses notwithstanding

 

The quiet serenity of families enjoying a sunny bank holiday weekend in Cambridge city centre was punctured on Sunday afternoon as 1,000 Cambridge University students descended on Jesus Green, ignoring pleas from their colleges not to attend the riotous annual party held to celebrate the start of the summer term.

‘Caesarian Sunday’ caused embarrassment for the university last year when students were snapped fighting, stripping off, vomiting and urinating in flower beds during the outdoor party, which has become an institution for the university’s drinking societies. But while some students had tamed their behaviour since last year’s scandal, which involved people carrying a pig’s head on a spike and girls drinking port from condoms, families were still shocked by the debauchery and drunkenness on display from some of the country’s most revered students, some of whom had been drinking since the previous evening.

"There’s a fine line between having fun and being disrespectful," says Amanda Colbrain, a local mother, "I shouldn’t have to explain to my daughter why a girl wearing bunny ears is falling down drunk or why a woman is sitting on a semi-naked man and licking cream off his chest."

Colbrain, who was picnicking in the park to celebrate a birthday with some friends, said her children had walked around spotting ‘various puke points dotted about the green’.

"We’re Cambridge families so we expect the students to be around, but when they’re swearing and acting like their drunken behaviour is funny in front of our children it stops being just a day out. It’s embarrassing for their colleges," she says.

A photographer from The Sun was ‘strongarmed’ by a group of male students, one witness claimed, after he was wrongly recognised as a journalist for The Daily Mail, a paper widely distrusted by Cambridge students after reporting on the nudity and violence of previous years.

Members of drinking societies wearing nothing but underwear and native American headdresses with swear words and genitals drawn on their backs and arms partied alongside different groups people dressed as schoolgirls, cheerleaders, ancient Greeks, and groups of men wearing three-piece suits and bow ties.

The societies use the event as a bizarre initiation ritual for new members and to launch a summer of drinking parties after the end of final exams. Suicide Sunday, a garden party held in the coming weeks, is organised by the Wyverns, an all-male Magdalene College drinking society, and has been running for 80 years.

"We’ve got that to look forward to next," says Colbrain, "and that is a million times worse than this."

But while members of drinking societies sang, played loud music and drank recklessly, a majority of other students stayed on their best behaviour, keen to show that they honour the tradition of respectability of their university.

"[My college] emailed us asking us not to attend the party today," says Ellie, a first-year history student from Brighton. "But my friends and I know that we could come here, have a good time, and not embarrass our colleges. It’s about having a bit of self control."

"You will always get people drinking on a sunny day in a park in a big city, and people swearing and having fights," she added. "Maybe it’s a sad thing that people behave that way, but I don’t see why Cambridge students have to be any different, we’re just normal people."

Fellow student Tom, who studies architecture, said: "We’re just acting like freshers; we’re having a good time today, but tomorrow we’ll go back to working really hard. If this party was happening at any other university no one would consider it strange; just because it’s Cambridge university, one crazy night gets blown out of all proportion."

But some students were not as keen to defend the partying. Alice, watching from the sidelines with a friend, condemned the drinking societies as ‘embarrassing’ for the university, but went on to say that the parties are not ‘that bad’.

"I’m from the North," she said. "This just looks like quite a tame party to me. But the drinking societies are what the colleges should stop, I won’t be joining one," she said.

After the media coverage last year’s party attracted, Cambridge University recently proposed that the party be moved inside Jesus College, away from the eyes of the public. However students opposed the plans, claiming they didn’t want to have their drinking restricted or policed by the university.

On whether the venue change might have been a good idea, one student who did not want to be named said: "just because I go to Cambridge it doesn’t mean that I am tied to my college. I can do what I want with my bank holiday, and if some people want to cause trouble then there’s nothing the colleges will be able to do to stop it."

Caesarian Sunday takes place on the first bank holiday of the summer term and is regarded as the last opportunity to let off steam before gruelling final exams. It is said to have started more than 100 years ago when a member of the Green Giants society stole a bottle of Pimm's from a Caesarian. Now, every year, the president of Girton College JCR drinks a bottle of Pimm's and invites the ‘rival’ Jesus society to fight.

A number of students had their details taken by police officers who maintained a constant presence in the park throughout Sunday, but no arrests were made.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Trainee Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Trainee Sales Executive is re...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Cambridgeshire - £23,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Front-End Develo...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower