Russ and their celebration called Russefeiring

Kids in Norway go to 3 types of school until they are done with their basic education. First they go to Barneskole, which translates directly to Kids School for the first 7 years. Then it’s off to Ungdomsskole for 3 years, which translates to Youth School. The last 2 or 3 years are done in Videregående, Upper secondary school, which either prepares you for more studies or gives you a profession that often ends after a year or two as a payed student in a firm that teaches you the rest of what you need to know to be able to do the work on your own, or a 3rd year at school with hardly anything else than relevant projects. Videregående is optional, but most Norwegians go trough with it.

In your last year in Videregående you become what is called Russ. This is a celebration of the fact that you are done with many years of school. But it’s really very stupid, because it happens, and is done, a month or so before the final exams. There are a huge number of traditions connected to the Russefeiring, and it involves special clothing in a color that represents what kind of studies you chose in Videregående, a LOT of drinking, partying and special tasks that range from fun to idiotic. The Russefeiring usually disrupts the whole school for the last few weeks up until the 17th of May, when it all ends. Many of the Russ are too partied out to even take part of the celebrations of the people on the 17th of May, because of the traditional drink-until-you-drop traditions on the evening of 16th of May.

But the biggest problem with the Russefeiring is the fact that those who go all in also go all out of what happens at school, and they fail their exams, and have to go back to Videregående the next year, usually in a expensive private school to take the failed subjects all over again.

And yes; I took part in the Russefeiring myself, I was actually the president of all of them in my school, but it didn’t affect my exam =)

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15 Responses to Russ and their celebration called Russefeiring

  1. Karenmomofthree says:

    I love the idea of this site and the information you have up here! I love learning about other places! I hope to swap with you soon! Thank you for doing this!

    • I love doing this =) Norway is such a strange little country that many feel connected to, and there are so many questions to be answered from all parts of the world!

  2. Jessica says:

    This is amazingly interesting. My birthday is May 16th. I never knew such events to place. Norwegians schooling is very different then here in the USA.

    • It’s VERY different! We see a lot of your school system on TV, and it’s amazing how we probably learn the same things, but in such different ways and at different times in our life. Like second language (English), that’s thrown at the kids in 1st grade now! We waited until 4th, so it’s been changing a lot too.

  3. This is homekeepingheather from swap-bot for the blog comments swap. This is a really neat and informative blog. I just read part of your post about schools to my 7 year old. My sons love learning about different countries.

  4. How fascinating! Sounds fun but distracting.

    Aimee (darzy30) -swapbot
    Blog Comments

  5. Coleen says:

    Schooling, another interesting cultural aspect of life. This is great that you do this blog about your country. Wouldn’t it be interesting if more did such. Now you have me thinking about putting more cultural aspects in my blogs. Hope you are feeling well these days Lexidh. Hugs, Coleen

    • It’s so easy to think that the way things are done where you live is normal, when it’s actually about as strange as it gets compared to the rest of the world! I would love to know more about your surroundings! It’s so close, but yet so far.

  6. Pingback: You have searched for… #2 | You ask about Norway…

  7. Toby (Wheeler) Davis says:

    I was an AFS exchange student to Lillehammer and Hamar, and was a Russe in 1965…then we took exams before May 17, partied for 3 weeks, and then found out the results of the exams! I had my Russe red hat, with 12 knots, a know for every day in a row that I partied all night, without sleeping…the requirement for a knot in those days. Our russe trip was to Copenhagen, on the train…was an incredible time. I ended up with a major in Norwegian at UW in Seattle, from all that I learned from my 1 year of incredible experiences in Norway.

    • Having the exams before the celebrations makes sooo much more sense than having them after, but I guess there is just no time to get trough it all before May when the school year starts in late August. Too bad, because it makes a lot of people having to retake their exams =(

      • Toby (Wheeler) Davis says:

        I have a question. When I was a Russe I. along with others, were presented with a gold pig pin, with a red ribbon, which I wore during this time. However, for the life of me I can’t remember what is the significance/meaning of the gold pig, and I can’t seem to find info on the web. Do you know? I’m currently writing a book, and I want to include the story about the gold pig pin, but need to refresh my brain first! thank you.
        Toby (Wheeler) Davis

      • Sorry, that tradition does not exist anymore, and I don’t understand much about it, but google “pin russ gris rød sløyfe”, you’ll get some hits on that one, and if your Norwegian isn’t doing you any good I can help with the translation, just not today. My mind is elsewhere, bombing and shooting and all…

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