A Swedish Graduation

This week(end) has been an exhaustingly happy mix of celebrating my oldest daughters graduation from gymnasium, my parents visiting us from the US and the end of the school year festivities for my other two younger children. I wanted to share a bit of what I have come to learn about the Swedish Gymnasium graduation.

Kaylee attended an International IB gymnasium, but they still celebrated the traditions of a Swedish gymnasium. During mösspåtagning, or first wearing of the graduation hat where they get together take pictures and have fika (fika=coffee/tea and a cake or sandwich).

Then they have a Skiva, a sort of equivalent to a prom in the USA and that was celebrated this week. This party is at a night club, this year was in Ostermalm and the theme was NEON……and I should mention it is legal to drink when you are 18 in clubs. There was a formal sit down dinner prior to the Skiva, where you had to dress up. A few days later they graduate.

The morning of graduation students meet for a champagne breakfast that is notorious for kids getting tipsy too early in the day. After breakfast, there is a ceremony and hat throwing and hat signing while the parents wait patiently outside.

All of us parents/family/friends are holding pre-made posters that typically include an embarrassing baby photo. We even have our own loud party outside waiting for the students to run out of school screaming and shouting. Tradition is that everyone wears a white cap with small black rim, embellished with personal atonements….Kaylee kept hers simple. The girls all wear white and boys wear a blue blazer.


After greeting their parents they change into grungy clothes and all hop onto large trucks with loud party music and roll through the streets of Stockholm dancing and squirting beer at passers by and generally being loud and obnoxious, but having a really really good time! Around 5pm Kaylee came home to cleanse the beer off  and celebrate a formal party with friends and family…..then they sleep for 3 days.

In the IB program students sit around 15 exams on all of the material they learned in the last 2 years, for which later amounts to around 80% of their grades. My daughter studied for 21 days…..3 full weeks of straight studying, then 3 WEEKS of testing. Her walls were plastered floor to ceiling with notes and quotes, dates and graphs, diagrams and timelines….it was insane in our house for days…..an intense amount of studying and concentration in the high school level….it is a well deserved release to party! My tear ducts were a mess this whole day!

And this is my personal gift to my daughter, whom I have gotten to know more personally than ever over her studying and testing time…..she would enjoy a 30 min break and watch the Simpsons while eating lunch or fika….so I came up with the idea that if we were a band…a dysfunctional functioning band that played our own songs and had our own tunes but a melody all together…..a special piece of artwork to remind her of her special development during this time and when were all still under one roof…when you have nothing to give but a bit of yourself.