What do Pink Floyd, flowers, flames and fireworks have in common?

No, it’s not the letter F, they’re each a symbol of the graduation celebration I attended this evening. It’s fascinating to me that this “ballagás”occurs before the students take their final exams. It’s almost like an encouragement to press on until completion.

I couldn’t understand much, and didn’t come with a translator for the evening, but fortunately it was in an open square where people were roaming there weren’t long lecturers, and there was plenty that was visually stimulating. I want to share the interesting moments with you and compare them to the graduations I’ve been to in the states!
The ceremony began inside of the school as the students walked through the classrooms that have enriched their lives over the past few years. Then, class by class they exit the build in a line. Instead of walking to “pomp and circumstance” these students walked through a “torch tunnel” to the beat of “auld lang syne”, everyone carrying a balloon in one hand and the other on the shoulder of the person in front of them in line (It almost felt like a tribal council from survivor). As they were walking, family members and friends would hand them flowers or balloons.
The next bit was all in Hungarian and I understood a few words, like “work” but that was about it.

Then the fun began.

A band made up of graduates covered “wish you were here” by Pink Floyd from the podium which happened to be about 20 feet up on the school’s balcony. After the song, the lights go out and the balloons glow because of a small light inside, out come students come with LED

juggling clubs and put on a color-guard/bluemangroup-esque light show performance to the song “drive by”. Since were no caps to throw in the air, the balloons floated off into the sky as the students look forward to the next season in their lives. To close the evening with a bang, there was a short fireworks show, the lights came back on and the students were free to leave, and presumably begin studying for their final exams!

This evening will long be a time of memories,

not just because of how creative it was or how much I enjoyed the cultural experience. Namely it’s special because it signifies the relationships that I am growing here. It’s an honor to be invited to such a milestone event in a young persons life, and for that, I’m thankful. It seems that months of being present are continuing to bring to a season of integration.

Have you experienced any cross cultural celebrations? How was it different than your ‘norm’? Would you please share a story or photo?

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