Your guide to students' white hat jubilation

Any newcomer strolling through a Swedish town or city in early-to-mid June, has probably noticed well-dressed young folks wearing white sailor hats and having rowdy fun on flatbed trucks trundling around town. It's such a striking, un-Swedish sight, it's probably left you a little dumbfounded. Who ARE all these kids? Read on...

Exuberance times 10!

Exuberance times 10!

Foto: Stina Järperud/arkiv

Engelska2024-06-11 12:45

It is, in fact Studenten, a long-standing rite of passage for all teens in Sweden, a joyous celebration of student graduation.

Clearly Sweden's Studenten tradition is about more than just getting a diploma. It's a joyful farewell to high school and a leap into adulthood. Celebrated in June, it's a memorable event for every Swedish graduate.

The roots of Studenten go back to the 17th century, and are linked to university graduations in Uppsala and Lund. Graduates paraded through the streets to music and speeches, influenced by similar traditions other European nations.

So many hats!

The tradition spread to high schools and used to start 50 days before graduation with students announcing their candidacy for Swedish graduation exams. These exams, however, which once determined the future of Sweden's youth, were abolished in 1968. Today, Studenten celebrations are joyful but also remind us of a time when the day held great significance for students' futures.

The symbol of Studenten is the "studentmössa," a white cap with a laurel wreath, representing academic achievement. 

On graduation day, graduates wear their white caps and clothes and gather at their schools. Then the excited teenagers rush out of school after receiving their leaving certificates, a tradition known as "utspringet." 

The "utspring".

Each of them runs through a crowd of parents holding up placards with the graduates' baby photos, which can be both sweet and embarrassing. Confetti flies and smartphones capture the moment.

The graduation day takes a unique turn with the "flak." 

Forget the standard parade route! Instead, graduates pool resources to decorate flatbed trucks, or tractors, with balloons and birch branches, turning them into mobile party platforms. 

All aboard the party bus.

These "flak" are strictly for students only - parents are politely excluded! 

The joyous atmosphere features students dancing, cheering, and enjoying a soundtrack of loud (some might say terrible) party music. 

The "flak" marks a vibrant prelude to the evening's festivities, as graduates often move on to bars and nightclubs to continue celebrating.