Everyone has hit that moment, where frustration, anger, or sadness is all too much to bear and you can’t hold it in. You just need to SCREAM. It’s not exactly socially acceptable to wail like a wild animal, which is why most people boil over in other ways, like punching a wall or going on a two hour run. Luckily, if you are a student in Sweden, you can scream without judgement.
Students of Uppsala University are spread out across the city, but many choose to live in a community called Flogsta. It is a neighborhood of apartment buildings, stocked to the brim with Swedish and foreign students, that look out over the red houses, fields, and forests that are typical of Sweden. All these buildings have accessible rooftops that students will throw parties on or where they will have chill drinks and BBQ´s with their friends under the night sky. These rooftops are a prime spot for The Flogsta Scream.
There are various theories on why The Flogsta Scream was invented. Within my first couple of days, I was told that a student had committed suicide by jumping out of one of the Flogsta windows and all the students screamed in honor of her. A more popular theory is that it was created for students to let out the stresses of studying for finals. Both of these theories held water for me at the time. Sweden was known to have a high suicide rate, although this seems to be a myth, as many countries are ahead of Sweden. South Korea, for one, is more in need of this scream than Sweden! Uppsala is not exactly a place that is flooded with sunshine in winter (some days the sun sets around 4pm!!) and it’s universal for students to be horribly stressed and pressured with tests throughout their university times (as a Communications Major, I cannot relate).
No matter how it was created, The Flogsta Scream happens every night at 10pm. It usually starts off with one or two lone screams and soon the night is full of wild and unabashed roars and cries. This can be extremely unsettling if one has no idea what is going on, but after living in Flogsta for awhile, I grew to enjoy it. Many times it was the whoops and hollers of party-goers from the rooftops, but you could also see groups of people on their balconies screaming shamelessly, having fun and getting to let out any deep frustration or hurt they would never talk about. Swedish people can be quite introverted and I think this opportunity to go wild is a brilliant idea. I’ll admit some nights I was sleeping (at 10 pm in college. I have no idea why) or studying and it would annoy me, but I always think back on it fondly and sometimes wish I could be with that mix of young people from around the world who just want and need to SCREAM.
A friend of mine, Fabian, from the Uppsala days posted a video on Youtube, where it’s gotten an absurd amount of views. Check it out if you want to get The Flogsta Scream experience (it didn’t usually involve opera singing haha). Also a recent article from the Huffington Post.