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 =)