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Fireworks at Cambridge University Trinity May Ball to celebrate end of exams

Fireworks explode over the River Cam (Joe Giddens/PA)
Fireworks explode over the River Cam (Joe Giddens/PA)

Cambridge University students enjoyed a fireworks display and a night of partying at the annual Trinity May Ball to celebrate the end of their exams.

The first Trinity May Ball was held in 1866 and the tradition quickly spread to other colleges.

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

People in boats on the River Cam watch a firework display
People watch a firework display over the River Cam (Joe Giddens/PA)

Guests at the Trinity May Ball, who paid at least £210 for a single ticket, were promised “unlimited food and drink, a stunning fireworks display and a myriad of entertainments”.

The event is described on its website as “one of the most sought after tickets to be had in May Week” and “an unrivalled showcase of revelry”.

Entertainment ranges “from chart-topping stars to world-class comedians to the finest classical and jazz musicians” in an “unparalleled setting”.

A firework display over the River Cam
A firework display over the River Cam (Joe Giddens/PA)

Students, dressed in elegant ball gowns and black tie, 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.

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 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two students take a selfie as another watches
Students from Cambridge University queue up for the Trinity May Ball (Joe Giddens/ PA)

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

The “only acceptable attire” for the Trinity May Ball “is traditional black tie, white tie or formal national dress”.

Instructions on what to wear include that “any sword worn as a part of national dress must be fixed in its sheath”.

Organisers said that the dress code “will be strictly enforced; those who are not properly attired will not be allowed entry into the ball”.