Oxford is home to many traditions, some more peculiar than others, including the myth that if a student turns up to their final exams in a full suit of armour, they are automatically awarded a First class degree!

At the Oxford Scholastica Academy, we have selected our top 5 most unusual traditions:

  • May Day – On the first of May each year, Oxford celebrates May Day, which is accompanied by Morris Dancers. See this form of English folk dance below:

  • Bell ringing – certain bells in Oxford (most noticeably Tom Tower) toll 5 minutes after GMT because Oxford has its own time zone. This is also apparently why lectures start at 5 past the hour.
  • Ascension Day – on one day each year, members of Brasenose College are permitted to enter the next door Lincoln College via a connecting door between the two colleges. This door is only opened for 5 minutes each year!
  • The Time Ceremony – Merton College members spend an hour when the clocks go back in England walking backwards around their grass quadrangle dressed in full formal wear in an effort to restore a balance in the space-time continuum.
  • Graffiti is permitted on Oxford college walls to celebrate rowing victories over rival colleges’ boat crews.

Photo by Renato Dantasc (CC BY ND 2.0)


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