What gets few thousand Swedes out, and huddle up on a holiday? Yes, firstly the Sun (just peek into Slottskogen on a weekend), and also when you have a tradition going on for more than a hundred years that hits the road – The Chalmers Cortège.
I will not talk about the background of the event. You could read this post by Ben to know that aspect. I will focus on the themes, and why this Cortège is most conducive in a country like Sweden.
The cortège, is basically a carnival arraying caricatures, mockery of some of the major events that have passed by in the last year with a witty sense of humour. There were around 40 rigs in all, and although I could figure out the agendas for few, but those were the global pressing issues presented with hilarity and yet making profound sense.
NSA and Snowden were all over the place. There was a depiction where a Obama look-alike is peeping from top on a lady in a toilet, who resembled Angela Merkel. The privacy invasion perpetrated by the NSA was not an exaggeration at all.
Resisting homophobia was on the ride as well, coupled with the tension in and around Russia. Pussy Riot band was depicted, performing under the oppression of a brown bear (if you know the symbolism). Also a pride parade was depicted, with slogans in Swedish. The actual Pride Parade in Gothenburg happens from 28th May to June 1st.
Another crucial underlying theme across was feminism. Most of the Swedish-only content did not make contextual sense to me, other than me ending up observing how if not entirely feminist in nature, but the platform egalitarian in all ways.
Environmental concern took form in many rigs, showcasing over-fishing of red shrimps, whale hunting, Arctic fishing were creatively presented.
On the lighter side, Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball act with the twerking, Volvo’s epic split, Disney’s take over of Star Wars, Tale Spin too made it to the Cortège.
The themes explored in the Cortège, ranged from dealing with privacy, freedom of expression, environmental concern and equality. These are the traits that make the fabric of Sweden, and all of it was creatively displayed in the procession. One important ingredient that you don’t get to see as commonly otherwise is the light-hearted humour that was sprinkled all over.
Do make it a point of witnessing this spectacle, when you are around next year. It always happens on the day of Varberg, on 30th April.