The Swedish solution to a Sober Grad Night

Glad Midsommar!  I just got back from a beautiful wedding out in Ljusterö in the Stockholm archipelago.  My friends Tobias Björkgren and Caroline Åslund (now Björkgren also!) was married on June 22, 2012 under a may pole in front of all of their family and friends.

I hadn’t blogged in a while, so I figured it was high time for an update.  Today I will talk about an interesting thing that high school graduates do in Sweden to celebrate their successes.

For those of you who are American or are familiar with the high school graduation process in the US, you might recognize the term “Sober Grad Night.”  The concept of a sober grad night is to help ensure that all high school graduates have a safe place to celebrate their accomplishments with their friends after their big day.  Most importantly, they celebrate without alcohol and without drunk driving.  I don’t know the origins of the event, but I suppose it was started because some high school students drove around drunk once and got killed (or killed others). In any case, you’ll find that most high schools in the US organize a similar event.  It’s an all-night event and is often sponsored by families and local businesses in the area.  Many parents also volunteer their time to make sure the event is a success!

The legal drinking age in Sweden is 18 (there are some nuances, see this link for more information) so the alcohol thing isn’t as a big of a deal here.  However, Sweden has stricter rules about driving under the influence than most states in the US, so drunk driving is still something that everyone wants to prevent.

In my time in Sweden, I’ve found the Swedes to be quite sensible and creative, and this is no exception.  Their creative solution blends partying with drinking with driving, but in a safe manner!

Their version of a “sober grad night?”  In early- to mid-June every year, the graduates hop on a truck and drive around town at about 5 miles per hour, blasting loud (and often good) music, pour beer and cheap bubbly on each other, and scream at passerby (and in some cases, spray them with beer!)

It’s quite the sight, and it’s also quite annoying if you end up on a bus behind one of these trucks since you’ll most likely be late to your destination.  I snapped this shot on my phone while I was on the bus going home one day.  This group happenedCrazy high schoolers partying it up, 5 mph at a time. to be going the other direction, but there were two other trucks behind my bus.

In fact, the trucking around has become such a problem that the police have banned them from the main roads in Stockholm (for example, Kungsgatan) probably because they create such horrific traffic jams.  I’ve also heard that the students jump around so much on these trucks that sometimes they tip over!

What do you think?  I think it looks fun, if not a bit weird, and is probably a lot safer than allowing these strapping youngsters out on their own… another example of a brilliant #trulyswedish solution!

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