Why was a bus loads of Swedish teens dressed in drag? And another as cheerleaders?
December 5, 2006 3:11 PM   Subscribe

While I was in Stockholm, Sweden this past August, I witnessed an odd youth event at a park. Can someone please help me figure out what event it was?

While sitting in a park near the Oden Hotel in Stockholm, I saw two bus loads of teenagers (around 17 years old) pull up. The teens were standing and dancing and shouting on the upper deck of the bus, and each bus load was dressed in a different theme. The teens got off the bus, where they were met by four coordinators (dressed in universal coordinator gear - matching logo t-shirts!) who led them in some activity (they were sitting in a circle and passing a jug of something around).

After about 15-20 minutes, the kids piled back on the bus and pulled away, shouting. A few minutes later, another bus full of teens would show up. This continued through the afternoon. It was all conducted in Swedish, so I had no clue what it was all about.

While reading this article on a Finnish secondary school tradition, I was reminded of this strange event. Can anyone out there help me figure out what was going on?
posted by muddgirl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Basically the same tradition as in Finland. There is a lot of debauchery involved.
posted by chillmost at 4:01 PM on December 5, 2006

In many of the nordic countries, kids celebrate their graduation by dressing up in silly (often matching) costumes, and get really drunk. Here in iceland, it's called "Dimmisjón" and it is a single day, in norway, it's called "Russ" and it goes on for weeks. It sounds like something of that nature.
posted by svenni at 4:02 PM on December 5, 2006

But Sweedish students graduate on June 12th, not in August.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:10 PM on December 5, 2006

Students often do activities like that to kick off the new school year for incoming students, both for starting 10th grade and for starting at the university. That sounds about right for August.

In my hometown it's called "Inspark" or "Kick in", and the seniors make the incoming classes do all kinds of things like get dressed as babies and walk through the center of town, or a scavenger hunt that ends with mud wrestling in a park, or something equally silly.

It's like a good-natured hazing thing that ends with a huge party where you get to know people in your new school. It's a great way to meet new friends, and fun to boot!

As for what game they were playing, passing the jug around, it might have been "ett skepp kommer lastat" (loosely "the incoming ship has cargo"). It's a common game.

I start by handing you any type of prop, saying "the incoming ship has cargo, it's bananas". You then hand it to the next person with "the incoming ship has cargo, it's bananas and spam" (where the new item has to start with the last letter of the previous item). You keep handing it on, repeating all the items on the list each time, until someone forgets one item of cargo and gets kicked out of the game. Then it starts over until there is only one person left.

It could have been any number of games, of course, but that sounds very plausible.
posted by gemmy at 5:55 PM on December 5, 2006

Aw, my old university had a ridiculous event at the end of August, beginning of the new school year, during "Orientation Week," where all the Freshmen would pile onto busses and head to a park, and play icebreaker games that involved yelling and jumping and Being Crazy. Leaders wore Hawaiian shirts. Just a means of helping people get to know each other at the beginning of the year. Perhaps your Mystery Event was something similar.
posted by Milkman Dan at 7:01 PM on December 5, 2006

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