Group of students returning to school

Group of students returning to school ()

Back to school means waking up early, math and wondering what is really in the shepherd’s pie. Across Europe, it also means cones with sweets, smocks, signs in windows and more.

Here are some back to school traditions from all over Europe from our latest “Dandelions” magazine.

Germany: The Schultüte: On their very first day of first grade, each student gets a cone called a Schultüte (shoo-l-toot-ah). Pens, pencils, toys, crayons and candy fill the cone. This is a tradition that goes all the way back to the 1800s!

Bulgaria: Games, Flowers and Singing: The first day is filled with poems, silly games, speeches, dancing and singing. Students also give their teachers flowers.

Holland: The Bakfiets: Dutch students celebrate by riding to school in a bakfiets (bahk-feets), a cargo bike. Their parents can peddle them to school.

Ukraine: Knowledge Day: September 1 is the first day of school (even on a Saturday). One lucky first grader gets to ring the bell to begin the new year. Students bring their teachers flowers too.

France: La Rentrée: The first day of school is known as La Rentrée (la ron-tree). Leading up to the first day, you will see signs in windows and people will ask students about their excitement for the new school year.

Italy: A Grembiule: Students wear their grembiule (grem-bew-lah) on the first day. The grembiule resembles a smock or apron. Students put on a special ribbon to show what grade they are in.

Switzerland: Leuchtweste or Lüchzgi: On the first day of school, students receive a special yellow vest, Leuchtweste (Loy-shh-t-vest-ag) or a triangle, Lüchzgi (loo-shh-tee). These items are for their trips to and from school. This helps drivers keep an extra special eye out for students.

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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