Swedish municipal, or "public," schools run on a two-term system, and are geared toward children from ages 7 to 16. Students attend class for 40 weeks total, which are divided between "Spring Term" and "Fall Term" semesters. Though the exact dates of the students' holidays differ from municipality to municipality, class is in session in all municipalities for at least 6,665 hours each year, and the schedules are usually quite similar.
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Spring Term and its Holidays
Spring term begins when the students return to school in mid-January after their Christmas holiday, and ends when they leave for their summer holiday in mid-June.
Approximate dates for the Spring 2011 term are:
Term begins: Jan. 12
Winter holiday: Feb. 11 to March 2
Easter holiday: March 31 to April 6
Midterm holiday: May 12 to May 17
Term ends: June 17
Easter holiday includes Good Friday (April 2, 2010), and Easter Sunday and Monday (April 4 and April 5, 2010). The midterm holiday often includes the Christian holiday of Ascension Day (the sixth Thursday after Easter, May 13, 2010).
Winter holiday isn't associated with any public holidays. It exists in order to give the schoolchildren a break and to evenly divide their class time between the two terms. As such, its scheduling is more flexible. In some municipalities, the children receive an extra week during the Easter holiday instead.
The summer holiday is typically the longest in the Swedish student's calendar. When the students return to class for fall term, they rise to the next grade level; it's the beginning of a new school year.
Approximate dates for 2011's summer holiday are June 18 to Aug. 25.
Fall Term and its Holidays
Fall term begins when the students return to school in late August after their summer holiday, and ends when they leave for their Christmas holiday in mid-December.
Approximate dates for the Fall 2010 term are:
Term begins: Aug. 26
Fall holiday: Oct. 15 to Nov. 1
Term ends: Dec. 16
Christmas holiday: Dec. 17 to Jan. 11
During fall holiday, Swedes celebrate All Saint's Day (Nov. 1, 2010).
Christmas holiday also includes Boxing Day (Dec. 26), New Year's Eve and Day, Epiphany (Jan. 6), and possibly St. Lucia's Day (Dec. 13).
St. Lucia's Day's origin is unclear, but it's celebrated in much of Scandinavia. That night, boys sing traditional songs and girls carry candles; all wear white. Some girls may wear wreaths with rings of candles on their heads. St. Lucia's Day signals the beginning of the Christmas festivities each year. Epiphany is the day the Wise Men came to Christ, is celebrated in many Christian countries and signals the end of the season. Children finish their fall term on or around St. Lucia's Day and return to school after Epiphany.
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