|Freedom... to have to be an adult.|
By Berit Abrahamsson
GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0
via Wikimedia Commons
That’s because the beginning of June marks high school graduation. This year, most of Stockholm will be graduating sometime between June 2 and June 16. They’ll come running out of the doors of their high school into a pack of family and friends. And yes, literally running. The women usually wearing white dresses, the men usually in dark suits, their little white graduation caps perched perilously on their heads.
They’ll be met by their parents, who are usually holding embarrassing or cute pictures blown-up into massive poster-sized signs. In fact, this tradition is so strong that a friend with a two-year old recently told me he had already begun picking out embarrassing photos to use for his son’s graduation, which should be occurring sometime around 2032.
|Look at that giant face staring right back at you. Parents, am I right?|
By Einarspetz (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons
|Yup. Look at those graduates carpe-ing the diem. |
Picture by JET.
That spraying of beer has resulted in some communities in Sweden prohibiting drinking on the trailers. The fact that students aren’t technically old enough to buy alcohol from the state-owned Systembolaget but still have enough beer to fill a small pool doesn’t seem to get much thought. But while alcohol is prohibited by some communities, the police actually re-write the rules for a couple of weeks every year. That’s because, technically, riding in the back of a trailer is very illegal in Sweden.
The police and the Swedish Transport Agency, Transportstyrelsen, even have pages on their website outlining the rules of the studentflak. Many of these rules have been put into place recently, especially after last year’s festivities when at least 12 different serious accidents occurred around the country. One kid managed to get henself (I need a gender-neutral pronoun in English) squeezed between two trucks. Another was knocked off the trailer by a bridge as the truck drove under said bridge. If it weren’t so serious, it’d be funny. Like some sort of Wile E. Coyote sketch.
But this is serious stuff. High school is over. Now it’s more school. Or work. Or unemployment. But it’s not high school. And that’s worth celebrating with some long-standing traditions.
Welcome to Sweden. And the places you’ll go.