When was the last time you wore an overall?

In every country and at every university there are numerous student traditions that are essential and almost sacred for some. The American students for example have their fraternities and sororities, the British steal road signs and in Sweden students wear overalls!? However, the overalls are not just a piece of clothing. For some student it’s as important as the gown of a priest or a policeman’s uniform.
The tradition started when a group of sophomores invested in a set of road worker overalls for their university’s kick-off week. This got incredibly popular and the tradition has since then spread all over the country and even to the neighbors in the east, the Finns. In the beginning it was only a fun and great party outfit but in more recent times several rules and rituals have been created for it.

So what are some rules and rituals of the overall?

1. First of all, before even considering wearing the overall you have to go through an initiation rite where you pledge your allegiance to it. This is often done by swearing an oath to follow the rules and rituals of the overall.

2. It is extremely important that you get an overall in the right color since the overall is used to create affinity between you and fellow students in your faculty. Also, the colors differ between different universities so when visiting another city people might mistake you for being a nursing student instead of maybe an engineering student.

3. When you have received your overall it is strictly forbidden to wash it because the level of dirtiness decides your status. Oh sorry, it’s one accepted way to wash it. With you in it! This is usually done by swimming in a canal, lake or why not a fountain?

4. Another way of getting high status in the “overall community” is to gather as many marks as possible. You get the marks by attending specific parties called “sittningar” or compete in beer pong and caps tournaments. A proper high-status overall with plenty of marks can be seen in the picture above.

5. One last important rule is that if you are having any intimate relationship with a person from another faculty, a piece of your overall has to be exchanged with the other person. What piece it is depends on your level of interaction.

What student traditions do you have in your country and at your university?

[Svenska]

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