Do you know of a graduation celebration that lasts for around one month? If you still have not heard about Norway’s russefeiring, then you should because it must be the longest celebration and could also be the most exciting of all graduation celebrations on earth.
Russefeiring is the traditional way of celebrating graduation from high school in the Scandinavian country of Norway. The celebrations usually start on April 20 and culminate on the 17th of May, Norway’s Constitution Day where russes join the parades wearing their caps. During that period, high school students on the verge of graduating wear colored overalls, rent buses, and party continually. This tradition started in 1905 and has since been a part of every high school graduating student’s life.
Russefeiring is not only a celebration of being able to finish 12-13 years of compulsory education, but it is also an indication of many important landmarks in one’s life. Most Norwegians turn 18 before the celebrations, and so russefeiring is also seen as a celebration for one’s passage into adulthood. This means that he can now do things that adults enjoy. This is the reason why there is too much drunkenness because they already reached the allowed aged to drink liquor. It also signifies that they are allowed to have their license to drive and to marry.
Although the celebrations traditionally should start on April 20 and ends on May 17, planning can start years before they are in their graduating year. Preparations can start months before, and some may be celebrating on their own ways before April 20. Some may even extend beyond May 17.
Traditionally, a russ (the term for a participant) wears an overall red outfit with a cap to be worn on the last day, May 17. Later on, other overall colors were used to indicate the major that a russ will be pursuing. The color may also indicate the school where the russ is studying. But now, a russ may wear any color to his preference.
Knots and Activities
With decorated buses and vans, russes gather in school grounds, community plazas, beaches, concert venues, and other public places to party. During the last days of the celebrations, there are daily themes that determine the activities that will be done on that day. The usual themes are army day, sex change day, pajamas day, hero day, and business day.
Knots on a russ’ cap determines the number of times that he accomplished successfully the tasks assigned to him. Challenges can come doing weird things like kissing a policeman while on duty, breaking into a teacher’s home, drinking 24 bottles of beer in one day, or even having sex on a tree.
Some seem to be annoyed by how the celebrations have become too wild. There have been some recently introduced changes to make the celebrations safer and have less negative impacts on young students. But no matter what, russefeiring is an essential tradition that every student in Norway will look always look forward to.…