July 5, 2007

Wild young Danes

The last night of my trip to the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth conference, I walked through the center of Copenhagen and kept coming across young Danes in white hats, riding in decorated trucks, climbing the fountains of one of the central squares, and whooping it up (see the pictures below the cut).

When I asked some of them, they explained that they had just graduated from secondary school (high school), and this was the way they celebrated. With bullhorns, they were raucous, and they waved and shouted out to passersby on the street.

So high school graduation rituals exist in other countries, if different from ours. I think this is better than high school prom drunks, but maybe they get drunk later. In any case, the growth of these rituals shows how graduation has become a standard expectation for European teens. I don't know how this evolved, but to an historian of dropping out, it's fascinating. Institutional life often becomes attached to rites of passage, and graduation rituals are part of that.


Danish graduates climbing statuary in King's New Square, Copenhagen
Danish graduates climbing statuary in King's New Square, Copenhagen, June 30, 2007

Trucks in which Danish secondary graduates rode, Copenhagen, June
Trucks in which Danish secondary graduates rode, Copenhagen, June 30, 2007 Listen to this article
Posted in Research on July 5, 2007 7:48 PM |