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“Penkkarit” in Helsinki on Thursday, February 15, 2018. Video and editing: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Duck and catch! These were the preferrable moves in the Helsinki center on Thursday afternoon when about 4,000 seniors (abis) from upper secondary schools in 100 trucks were spreading candy showers across the city center while celebrating “penkkarit.”
The traffic lights were turned off as the trucks roamed freely while honking horns and while the seniors were screaming on top of their voices. This was their last public powwow, so to spread the joy they wore costumes of superheroes, animals, clowns, mascots . . . more weird, the better.
As according to the tradition, the seniors hung big sheets on the sides of the trucks, which offered a glimpse into their thinking.
After their ride, they would pack into boats and start their abi cruise on the Gulf of Finland. Several cruise ferries have been reserved for their use only, and the parties often last until the next morning.
Then they will start preparing for the matriculation exams, which begin heavily in March.
In June, some of these bright young minds will be crowned with a student cap and a diploma.
And then they start looking for another academy to get their degree, while shooting for a career somewhere in the future.