Swedish word of the day: utspring

Swedish word of the day: utspring
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Graduating high school is a big deal in Sweden, as today's word shows.

Utspring comes from ut (out) + springa (to run). You could translate it as “running-out” or “graduation dash”.

On the day of graduation, students typically run out of the school building, class by class. Groups of family and friends will be waiting for them outside, often with posters showing a photo of the student as a child.

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The tradition started in the 1960s, when students had a final exam to complete on their final day of high school. That’s no longer the case, but the utspring is going strong.

Students will typically be wearing white (for women) and suits (for men) and sailors’ caps. And the celebrations don’t stop with the utspring; high school graduation is a big deal in Sweden, and the day continues with the students boarding trucks or floats to drive around the town, and parties into the evening.

In 2020 and 2021, the celebrations have had to adapt to the pandemic, which included limiting the number of students participating in each utspring, the number of relatives who could attend and enforcing distance between them.

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