Swiss Teens Celebrate Spring With 'Bal de Printemps'
- April 28th, 2009
- 2 Comments
Today’s Youth Advisory Board post is from Caroline Marques a high school student in Switzerland who gives us a glimpse into the Swiss equivalent of prom known as bal de printemps. Remember, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at ypulse.com…or just leave a comment.
Swiss Teens Celebrate Spring With ‘Bal de Printemps’
Since I go to school in Switzerland, where high school starts in 10th grade and goes until 13th, we aren’t blessed with the great adventure that is prom. However, we do have other traditions here. For example the bal de printemps, translation: the spring ball. Each year there are two or more balls in the spring organized by social societies that include a dozen official members. They hold the event at one of the best hotels, get a DJ from a famous club and hand out 500 to 1000 invitations to teens in Geneva.
As a tenth grader, I attended my first this spring. Unlike most proms in the states it’s open to every high school student, not just juniors or seniors. And I have to say it’s pretty cool—pastel silk dresses, six-inch heels, tuxes and champagne (it’s legal to drink champagne at 16 here). The usual entry fee is about 20 francs, and the party starts at 9 and goes on until about 3. Hosted at hotels, they’re usually big events that combine more than one school (my school alone has 800 students). You can’t get in if you’re not dressed properly and some people indulge in limos. There’s usually a photographer or two so the teens have the joy of posting their cute pics on Facebook . People tend to come with their date or a bunch of friends (most opt for a bunch of friends).
In a way I guess it’s not that different from the proms I’ve seen on TV and movies minus the inclusive factor (although they do try to make it extra-special for seniors with a smaller party that they organize among themselves) Also, there usually isn’t a theme or a band and there are no teachers. Bartenders, coat checkers and hotel managers, yes, but no parents or teachers! Of course, that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want because everything is supervised. But it’s nice to have that freedom.
So we have these multiple parties throughout the season, but for now no big, huge, prom tradition. I think a lot of people would go for the one big hurrah, considering the big success of the balls and personally, I’m hoping to plan a big prom, or something similar (perhaps the first unofficial prom or the bal de promo) when I’m a senior as a member of the student government. We’ll see if I get my way in three years. Let’s hope so!
Caroline is a high school student in Geneva, Switzerland. While Caroline lists sports, music and travelling as her hobbies, she also very much enjoys writing and reading. After being a teen adviser for NickMag, she thought Ypulse would be the perfect opportunity for a new start. While trying to keep up with the trends (or setting some of her own), dance classes, working on long papers and trying to master three new languages, she rarely has time to write the novel she wishes she could finish, though she is certain one day she will. Writing is never far from her thoughts.