Living abroad, with international people, with a very different culture, is something that can’t necessarily be put into words. Every person experiences it differently, so I can speak for my own experience. I have lived long term in Brazil and in the Netherlands, and short term in Spain, but nothing beats going out into the streets of a city you’re living in and seeing their traditions. This is something that you wouldn’t necessarily see if you weren’t living there.
In this post, I want to talk about one Dutch tradition that really baffled me the first time I saw it. Summer was about to start, and I started seeing Dutch flags going up around my neighborhood, which I found really weird because as far as I knew there were no national holidays or events going on at that time. But that was when I really looked at the flags.
If you looked very closely at the flag, you could see that, on the flagpole, some houses had hung a backpack. At first sight, I thought it was some sort of prank that someone played on their siblings/friends, but the more houses I saw the same flag with the backpack hung, the more confused I got. And this was the only time I was thankful to be having Dutch classes, so I could understand what in the world was going on.
There is this tradition in the Netherlands, that on the day that the high-school graduates get informed of whether or not they passed their finals, they put out their old backpack on the flagpole as a way of announcing their graduation to their neighbors. A lot more fun than posting it on social media, am I right? Every house that has the flag up indicates that a high-school senior lives there, whether or not the backpack is added tells the people around them the result of their final exams and if they should be congratulated on their graduation.
I don’t know about you, but that almost – and I mean almost – want to go back to high school to be a part of such a cool tradition. I mean posting on social media is fine, but this sounds really epic – in my opinion at least.
My curiosity is now peeked. Do any of you have a different graduation tradition, or any tradition in general, that you think the rest of the world needs to know? Leave us a comment telling us a bit more about it. I’m dying to know more 😊.