Swedish Students Let Off Steam by Screaming in Public

"At 22:00 precisely the windows open and the screaming begins," says an Uppsala University webpage covering "academic traditions."

The line is referring to a local phenomenon that’s been taking place in a specific area of the Flogsta neighborhood of Uppsala, Sweden, since at least the '80s, and possibly as early as the '70s. The locals call it the Flogsta Scream, and it’s pretty simple: At the same time every night, a bunch of people lean out of their windows and scream.

The Scream isn’t restricted to only students, of course—or even to Flogsta, for that matter. The Lappkärrsberget residential area near Stockholm University has a neighborhood scream as well, known as the Lappkärr Cry, while Lund University students in the Delphi neighborhood of Lund, Sweden, participate in the Delphi Roar. (Other names include the Tuesday Scream—Lappkärrsberget screams on Tuesdays only—and Elvavrålet, or "the eleven roar," for the version in Lund, which happens at 11 p.m.) Vuvuzelas (the plastic horns often found at South African soccer games) are incorporated in some versions as well. The screams generally last between one and two minutes, but they vary on a case-by-case basis. Some can last up to 10 minutes.

The lore behind this strange tradition varies as well. Some say that—at least in the case of Flogsta—the practice was started by students in the physics department at Uppsala who needed to let off stress and angst during exam season; others say it was begun as a memorial to a student who killed himself.

It doesn’t necessarily happen every night, either. Arvid Cederholm, who lived in Flogsta in the early 2000s, told mental_floss, "I don't remember it being every evening, but rather if someone started it, others joined in. The angst wasn't a very pronounced part of it, I feel. It was more of a fun thing than an angsty thing."

Back in late 2014, the Flogsta scream received a small burst of attention on the internet thanks to a Reddit thread and a subsequent post on MTV’s website. Amid the swirl, the story somehow changed from "people collectively scream out of their windows at 10 p.m. in certain areas in Sweden" to "you can scream out of your window anywhere in Sweden and people will scream back." There was so much misinformation circulating surrounding the Flogsta scream that Snopes finally wrote a piece about it in order to set the facts straight. (They also noted that similar practices aren’t unknown on U.S. campuses.)

So just to be clear: This doesn’t happen everywhere across Sweden, only in Uppsala, Lund, or Stockholm, and only on specific university campuses. You can’t just show up in, say, downtown Gothenburg, start screaming, and expect folks to join you. You will just annoy the Swedes. Definitely don’t do this.

But if you happen to find yourself at the right Swedish university around 10 (or 11) at night and you’re feeling brave, it might be worth a shot. Maybe wait for someone else to start screaming first, though. Just in case.

11-Headed Buddha Statue to Be Revealed in Japan for First Time in 33 Years

Buddha statues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The various poses and hand gestures of the Buddha represent different virtues, and any items he happens to be holding—say, a lotus flower or a bowl—have some religious significance.

But not all Buddha relics are created equal, as evidenced by the reverence paid to one particularly holy statue in Japan. The 11-headed figure is so sacred that it has been hidden away for 33 years—until now. Lonely Planet reports that the Buddha statue will be revealed on April 23 during the Onsen Festival in Kinosaki Onsen, a coastal town along the Sea of Japan that’s famous for its hot springs. The statue is kept inside Onsen-ji Temple, a religious site which dates back to 738 CE.

Al altar inside Onsen-ji temple

Patrick Vierthaler, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The big Buddha reveal, however, will be held elsewhere. For that, festivalgoers will need to ride a cable car to the top of Mount Taishi, where they’ll catch a glimpse of Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu, a name which means “11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy.” It will be hard to miss—at 7 feet tall, the statue would tower over most NBA players. Considered a natural treasure, it’s displayed in three-year blocks once every 33 years. So if you miss the initial reveal, you have until 2021 to catch a glimpse.

“The people of Kinosaki are very excited about this event, especially the younger generation," Jade Nunez, an international relations coordinator for the neighboring city of Toyooka, told Lonely Planet Travel News. "Those who are under 30 years old have never seen the statue in its entirety, so the event is especially important to them."

After paying their respects to the Buddha, festival attendees can take a dip in one of three hot spring bathhouses that will be free to use during the Onsen Festival.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21

Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.


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