• Sweden's news in English
 

The lowdown on high school graduation

Published: 07 Jun 2007 15:17 GMT+02:00

I've just been in town and seen all these young people in white hats milling about on the backs of trucks and tractors. They're screaming and shouting and listening to loud music. What's going on?

All over Sweden students are celebrating the completion of their final year of secondary eduction. What you have witnessed is the annual outpouring of emotion and champagne that is widely known as studenten. As Swedish rites of passage go, this one marking graduation from gymnasium is by far the most exuberant.

I see. But what are those silly hats that make them look like they've just got off on shore leave?

The stylish white caps worn by school graduates are in fact a relic from bygone days. In the middle of the nineteenth century students at Uppsala University began wearing the sort of headgear that had already become popular in Denmark and Germany.

The fashion took off and for university students the general wearing of white peaked caps persevered for more than a century until the revolutionary spirit of 1968 deemed them antiquated and bourgeois.

But the studentmössa, as it is called, refused to die, and has retained its popularity among school-leavers. In some schools Gymnasium students don the caps for the first time at a graduation ceremony at the end of April. They are then worn with pride until that joyous day when school's out for summer and, indeed, forever.

What else happens that day?

The graduates often start the day by singing a traditional song about happy days of youthful abandon, all rounded of with a hearty 'hurrah'. The 'hurrahs' get heartier still for those who choose to indulge in a champagne breakfast with their classmates.

Then they board the tractors and trucks?

No, not yet. In a throwback to pre-1968 days, when Swedish students had to complete a final exam before finishing school, the students now often gather in the school building before rushing out to meet their extended families. The jubilant youths then get all manner of gifts hung around their necks by ribbons and everyone says 'hurrah' a lot again.

But what about the parade floats?

That's the next bit. Groups of students often club together to hire floats for the day, which they then deck with balloons and bundles of birch twigs. Having successfully given their parents the slip, the students proceed to honour the occasion with a display of unbridled hedonism.

No passer-by can remain oblivious to the excesses of studenten, as an endless stream of party music comes blaring from the floats and students knock back champagne as fast as they possibly can, seemingly mistaking it for lemonade.

So they laugh, sing and make merry. Then what?

Then they get ready for the evening ahead when they do it all again. Except in a bar or nightclub rather than on the back of a truck.

Which is when I can start breathing a sigh of relief.

Yes, until next year, when a fresh batch of graduates reminds you once more of the distance between yourself and the joys of youth.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
The Local List
Six essential shopping spots in Stockholm
Exclusive shopping street Biblioteksgatan in Stockholm's Östermalm district. Photo: TT

Six essential shopping spots in Stockholm

Sweden has a reputation for style and the nation's capital is a haven for shopaholics - once you know where to go. Here's The Local's beginner's guide to Stockholm's shopping scene in 2015, from the latest designer stores and independent boutiques to handy malls. READ  

Bones of missing Swede confirmed in US town
Larkspur Landing, in California, where Elisabeth Martinsson was last seen. Photo: Pedro Xing. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Bones of missing Swede confirmed in US town

US coroners have officially identified the skeletal remains of a 21-year-old Swedish student who went missing in California over three decades ago and have relaunched a murder investigation. READ  

Stockholm transport boss resigns over theft
The chief executive of Stockholm's public transport group SL, Anders Lindström, has resigned. Photo: Annika af Klercker/Svenska Dagbladet

Stockholm transport boss resigns over theft

The head of Stockholm's public transport group, SL, has stepped down a fortnight after he was fined by a Hong Kong court for stealing an expensive designer credit card holder in an airport store. READ  

Swedish amber rock was Second World War bomb
The amber rock was in fact a large piece of trotyl, pictured. Photo: Daniel Grohmann

Swedish amber rock was Second World War bomb

A two-kilo rock handed to a museum in southern Sweden by a fisherman who thought it was a piece of amber, has turned out to be a huge Second World War bomb. READ  

Sweden ladies red-faced over infectious 'clap' tag
The Swedish women's national football team. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden ladies red-faced over infectious 'clap' tag

Swedish is a peculiar language, and translating expressions into English can be tricky, as most expats know. The women's national football team got a taste of this on Tuesday, when their international slogan inadvertently encouraged fans to spread gonorrhoea around Sweden. READ  

Does Sweden mark down foreigners' children?
A Swedish paper has compared pupils' national test scores to their individual grades. Photo: Annette Friberg/SCANPIX

Does Sweden mark down foreigners' children?

Children in Sweden with foreign-born parents appear to get lower scores in national exams than from their own class teachers, research by a major Swedish daily newspaper suggests. READ  

Sweden has fewest new prisoners in six decades
Fewer people are being sent to prison in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Persson/SCANPIX

Sweden has fewest new prisoners in six decades

Fewer people were sent to prison in Sweden in 2014 than in any other year since the 1950s, according to new figures from Sweden’s Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården). READ  

Asylum seekers face ‘years’ without Swedish
An SFI class in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Asylum seekers face ‘years’ without Swedish

Sweden’s commitment to give free Swedish classes to all asylum seekers is failing, according to the Red Cross, which says that too many are being forced to wait “several years” before they can attend lessons. READ  

Russia exercise parallels Sweden war simulation
A Russian military long range bomber aircraft. Photo: TT

Russia exercise parallels Sweden war simulation

Russian military forces have launched an unexpected huge military exercise, which is taking place as Sweden continues to host thousands of troops from nine countries for a similar war games simulation. READ  

Opinion
'Swedes need to ditch cakes at coffee time'
A very Swedish coffee break. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Swedes need to ditch cakes at coffee time'

Grabbing a cake and a coffee at least once a day is one of Sweden's best loved traditions and even has a special name: 'fika'. But Swedish medical student Haroon Bayani is calling on Swedish nationals and foreigners alike to stop reaching for sweet treats in the workplace. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Avicii confirms royal wedding DJ gig
Gallery
Property of the week: Lugnvik, Östersund
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw through the years
Gallery
People-watching: May 22nd-23rd
Blog updates

24 May

 (Joel Sherwood) »

"Real American men don’t watch Eurovision. New video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQk5dUhGt-w ..." READ »

 

22 May

Editor’s blog, May 22nd (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Stockholm, The hot topic in Europe this week is whether or not the UK will..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
What it's like to be a student in Malmö
National
Why are Sweden's beaches among the worst in Europe?
Sponsored Article
Kristin Amparo: 'Swedes are afraid to be proud'
National
VIDEO: Can you get your tongue around Sweden's word for 'nurse'?
Sponsored Article
'No one tells expats about unemployment benefits'
National
How two million Swedes are designing a 'house of clicks'
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Five facts you need to know about Sweden's Eurovision entry
National
Why do one in three Swedes want to join Nato?
Features
What to do in Stockholm this summer
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th
National
How Sweden and Saudi Arabia got back on speaking term after row
Gallery
Property of the week: Västra hamnen, Malmö
Sponsored Article
'There is no such thing as Swedish values'
National
Why is support for the Sweden Democrats at a record high?
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
People-watching: May 15th - 17th
National
VIDEO: Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear
National
'Gang conflict' linked to latest Gothenburg attack
National
RECIPE: How to make Panna cotta with cloudberry jam
Sponsored Article
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Your May sun snaps
National
Sweden backs migrant sharing plan
National
Swedish boozing on the rise
National
Why Sweden's deputy PM was forced to apologize for Auschwitz analogy
National
End of the road for Julian Assange's arrest appeal?
Features
Booked to go to one of Sweden's sizzling music festivals yet?
National
Meet the Swedish boy who used to be a girl
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why is obesity ballooning in Sweden?
National
VIDEO: The bizarre Swedish nurses song that's gone viral
National
Ecuador stray dog Arthur in Swedish charity race
National
UK expert: 'Sweden's current military state is alarming'
National
Elfdalian: a real language spoken in central Sweden in 2015
National
Is King's love for house tracks behind new military music?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hjortnäs, Leksand
National
Sex-crazed grouse terrorizes Swedes
National
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King Carl XVI turns 69
National
Dolphins spotted in Baltic
Gallery
People-watching: May 1st-3rd
Sponsored Article
'Never waste a good crisis'
National
Road trippers flock to 'The Bridge'
National
Why are Swedish supermarkets banning paracetamol pills?
Gallery
People watching: April 29th
National
"In many ways Swedes and Americans are kindred spirits"
Politics
Did you know four Swedish party leaders are women?
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,313
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se