Why in the world is that bag hanging up there?
While walking around the block and just randomly looking upwards, I couldn’t help but notice a backpack in mid-air hanging on a flagpole by the side of a building. After all these years living here there are still things I didn’t know about local customs and it had to be Frenchwoman to explain it to me. Turns out it’s tradition to hang one’s schoolbag on a flagpole after finishing school and getting a diploma. As well, at the end of all the studying and after finally graduating, all the notebooks and papers used during the term are collected and burned as a sort of rite of passage. Somewhat primal but definitely symbolic (and more than likely cathartic).
After walking a bit further, even more obvious signs of the season in the form of ‘Geslaagd’ (Successful) flags hanging on doorways. Those I’ve seen before and at least now I know what they’re all about. Congratulations to the new graduates! You now join 13 million unemployed youth in Europe. Hope you get a job faster than I did. (: