Last Friday was the first day of school in Slovenia – also for the pheasants!
They filled the city center in the afternoon and instantly became covered from head to toe with permanent markers.
A random tourist passing by, who is not familiar with this tradition, was certainly concerned about all the black body art.
Older students draw the letter “F” all over the freshmen’s bodies – even on their faces!
Part of the “pheasanting” sometimes involves tossing eggs and ketchup at the new students. That is why even the police had to intervene in past years.
Some are happy to participate in the ritual. Others just helplessly accept it.
Those who want to avoid it go straight home after the first day of school, or at least avoid the popular student gathering places.
Others rush downtown.
Young people, dirty and scratched, were visibly looking forward to a new chapter in their lives.
They didn’t worry at all about how to get the markers and various ink off their skin.
Maša, a 1st-year student from the High School for Design and Photography in Ljubljana, likes the ceremony.
I let myself be marked with felt-tip pens, because I will wash them off my skin afterwards. The memory of my first day of high school will stay with me forever. I will also keep the t-shirt they scribbled on as a memory.Maša
The rest of the students didn’t bother too much with their signed faces either, in fact, it seemed as if they were enjoying their new role.
Most of the respondents agreed that they would participate in the ceremony in the following years.
Points to Consider
- Do you know what real pheasants (the birds) look like?
- What do you think about this ritual?
- Will you also take part in this tradition when you start high school?
The original version of this article was published on September 4th.