• Internationaal Konvent

International Cantus, second edition

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

The IK is organising an international cantus so all international students in Ghent can experience what it's like. On November 18th, from 8 pm - 12 am on campus Coupure, for only 12 euros about 50 international students get to experience a real cantus (together with local students).

Below you can find General Cantus rules.

Now, you might think "What is a Cantus??". A very short summary would be a traditional Belgian acapella karaoke, but with some rules to make the night a bit more enjoyable, even after a couple of beers.

For those who need a little bit more context, let me explain it to you:

A cantus is a typical Belgian student tradition. Student organisations and fraternities organise these evenings which involves singing traditional songs and drinking beer. There are strict traditional rules which must be followed and some of the songs we sing date back to the middle ages.

The students see the lyrics of the songs in the codex, the book which compiles all of the songs. Here you have the club anthems and hundreds of songs in many different languages (Dutch, French, English, German, Latin, African). The songs are often about drinking or the history and past of Belgium and/or the student city.

Some examples:

What shall we do with the drunken sailor

Country roads

Oh, Susanna


Jan Klaasen


What about the structure?

The Cantor leads the cantus. He's the person in the middle with the big hammer and the barrel. He hits this barrel to announce the next song, to get us to be quiet or to show the rhythm. He also has the power to punish people if they are not following the rules and being disruptive. These punishments are often drinking beer but in an unusual and funny way.

The roles in a cantus:

The Praesidium (the board of the student organisation), the senior (the leader of the fraternity), The Cantor (the leader of the cantus), the Corona (normal students) and the Schachten (newbies). The corona just follows along normally but the Schachten are being put on low benches and are often being made fun of. Schachten are freshman or first-year students who want to become a member of the student association. So as a way to prove their worth to the club they need to do some challenges, the corona makes fun of them, ....

What do you wear to a cantus?

You wear lab coats, for protection of course. People often sign on them and at the end of your studies you have a nice coat which smells of beer and memories. (if you don't have a lab coat, wear clothes that are allowed to smell of beer afterwards.)

What are the basic rules of a cantus?

- Listen to the senior and cantor: their rule is law

- be quiet or you might be punished with some sips of beer by the punisher

- for standing up the senior says "surgite", you say "surgimus" and stand up

- for sitting down the senior says "omnes ad sedes", you sit down

- there is no clapping, you hit the table with your knuckles

- if the punisher calls "SILENCIUUUUM", you make sure you are quiet, after saying "triplex"

- you are not allowed to go pee before you ask the punisher and do what they say

- there are two breaks in the cantus, they're called "tempus" and the senior decides when to have them

- ad fundum = glass empty

- ad libidum = drink as much as you want

- ad pistum = punishment time, the corona can give idea's for the punishment

- prosit = cheers, so prosit corona means the corona has to drink

- "lied ex" = song is over, close the booklet

Don't: clap your hands, smoke, spill beer, talk during songs, use your phone

Do: sing, drink, have fun, use a condom

Vocab list: Senior: The person leading the cantus.

Cantor: The singer Cantus in: Cantus has started.

Cantus ex: Cantus has ended.

Corona: (The circle). All participants.

Habes: Go ahead, you have permission.

Levamus: We raise (our cups).

Levate pocula: Raise your cups.

Lied ex: Song is over.

(Non) habes: You (don’t) have permission.

Omnes ad finissendum: Everybody sings all the way until the end, no interruptions

Omnes ad sedes: Everybody sit down.

Omnes ad X: Everybody sings part X.

Prosit: Cheers.

Senior, peto verbum: Senior, may I say something?

Silentium: Silence.

Surgimus: We stand up.

Surgite: Stand up.

Tempus ex: Break has ended.

Tempus in: Break has started.

So that's a basic introduction into cantus. Interested in joining ours? The link to register will come online on 5 November

54 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The 17th of November we remember all our international students and how this day came to be. Internationalisation at our university is never perfect. So don't sit around and wait for change, tell us d