Sunday, June 3, 2012

Getting Ready for "Studenten"

"Studenten" is the word used in Sweden for the activities around graduation from high school. There are lots of parties and traditions.

One of the biggest traditions seems to be alcohol-soaked graduates riding through the streets on the back of a truck. Think of migrant workers going to the fields, standing in the back if an open top truck with sides. Only these are privileged kids, whooping and hollering.

I saw my first truckloads of kids last Thursday and Friday in Stockholm. It's suddenly very cold and rainy in Stockholm. The rain isn't so awful but it's really cold! As the trucks rolled past, I was glad not to be freezing my parts off in one of them.

Students in Stockholm, 2010. The sign says "Today blind drunk, tomorrow jobless." Photo by Holger Ellgaard (CC BY 3.0)

My friend, Helen's middle son will celebrate his studenten on Tuesday. Helen and her husband have built a new deck for the party (but also because they have always wanted a deck. This weekend I helped work on the deck and  on raising the tent they will have over it. As I mentioned, it's been unseasonably cold the last few days. The Local reported that "Stockholm broke an 84-year-old cold record on Saturday, [June 2] as the capital's temperature only reached 6 degrees Celsius, the lowest June maximum daily temperature the city has seen since 1928." I was standing in the rain and I thought my fingers were going to fall off, my hands were so cold.

On Sunday, it rained for three minutes every five minutes but at least it was much warmer. Here's a picture of the not-quite-finished deck and the tent which is also not fully up in this photo (for example, one wall of the tent is covering the railing).

On Tuesday, I will watch Helen's son and his whooping classmates come streaming out of the graduation ceremony (which only the students attend, no family--very different than in the US!), then they will do the whole truck party thing, then host the party at is home. Stay tuned for my report on all that...


  1. It sure is interesting how they are allowed to be so darn drunk for the day, but over here you would be in so much trouble if they caught you drinking at graduation or after it!! Nice deck can't wait to hear the follow-up story.

    1. I think there's talk about "outlawing" this kind of celebration but for now, it's kinda wild...