Sun = fun = HUH??
A Linnaeus University tradition, Allkår can be more of a circus than, well, the circus. Photo: Ben Mack
The formula sounds simple enough, but just like those physicists who spend 15 minutes coming up with a theory and the next 15 years figuring out if it’s true, you have a hard time believing the Swedish sun is real. But really, just like the mythical decade known as the nineties, it really does exist.
And with the sun comes perhaps the strangest tradition in the history of Swedish higher education: the Allkårsfestivalen (Allkår Festival for the linguistically challenged).
Can I get a collective “What?!”
I’d love to tell you what it’s all about. I really would. But from what I gleaned through attending the thing eight hours a day for three whole days, all I figured out was this:
- - Random activities take place with no real set schedule, from baseball to football to water balloon fights. Spontaneity at its finest.
- - Swedish comedians attempt to retell their jokes in English. While it’s true that every Swede speaks better English than, ahem, the English, something is lost in translation when telling Swedish jokes. Either that, or American humor isn’t as “sophisticated” as the Swedish kind.
Quick access to free concerts tends to be one of the benefits of living on campus. Photo: Ben Mack
- - More indie bands perform than you’ll ever see at SXSW. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was in Austin. And the fact that everyone looks as tragically hip as indie rockers doesn’t help.
- - Alcohol is consumed in copious amounts. And for what reason? Beats me. Do you need a reason to partake of adult beverages? All I can say is that Merriam-Webster calls the lack of a reason “alcoholism.”
O.K. so I admit I did find a partial explanation as to what Allkår exactly is. According to the official Allkår 2011 Magazine, it’s been a tradition at Linnaeus University for over 20 years, and is organized by Nations Kollegiet (or NK), a consortium of the various student nations on campus.
Summation: Allkår = giant party organized by a bunch of frats.
But be careful: this isn’t your father’s celebration. It’s like Spring Fling on steroids.
One of the "quieter" moments at Allkår. Photo: Ben Mack
Is this a problem? Not really. It’s part of campus life – in this case, the only campus in Sweden. Sure, other universities might have random boat races, burn giant effigies to celebrate the ancient Mesoazoical Chinese Mughalindu Zoroastrian festival of new beginnings, but they don’t have the likes of Streets of Mars or Dial M for Murder! playing free concerts, outdoor dance parties featuring some of the most famous DJs in Sweden, or – my personal favorite – sausage baseball (you must eat a sausage every time you reach a base, and if you throw up, you’re out).
And the best part of all this? No planning on your part required. Wanna show up in your pajamas? Go for it – your room is only three minutes away anyway.
And besides, at some events you have to wear pajamas. It’s an eight-year-old’s dream. Or as John Belushi might say, welcome to college. It’s the best seven years of your life.
Got a problem with this? Eat my shorts – proverbially, of course. I’ll need them later for beach volleyball.
After a long day (and night) of partying, it's good to know your flat is only a couple of minutes away. Photo: Ben Mack