Thursday, June 11, 2009

Russ (Rhymes with Moose), or You Thought Senior Prank Day Was Bad?

We've got a really interesting article today from Nichole about the yearly Norwegian happening, called Russ. Enjoy!

As schools across the US begin to wind down, we thought it might be an apt time to expose our members to an interesting Norwegian end of schooling tradition…

Right about now, you’ll see stories on Aftenposten, detailing the fall out from the annual Russ celebrations.
Q: What is this Russ celebration?
A: One of Norway’s most confusing (IMO) and entertaining pastimes.

This annual tradition (russfeiring or russ celebration) surrounds the graduation of students from secondary school, who are preparing to enter university. The most striking visual component to this celebration is the red (for school of arts) and blue (for economics) coveralls that the graduates wear. Tradition dictates they wear these for over two weeks at the beginning of May.

While the donning of the coveralls marks an important rite of passage for these young adults, it can often mean mayhem for the communities of the graduates. These youngsters receive knots, which dangle from their russ caps, that connote the completion of different outlandish tasks (examples can be found in the articles).

In recent years, Russ have spent thousands of dollars outfitting party busses and pulling elaborate pranks. Communities, which would otherwise condemn their loud and constant partying seem, for the most part, to accept the weeks as an earned tradition for the students.

Next time you see Fraternal Director Eivind Heiberg, ask him about his experiences with as a Russ. Most certainly, he’ll have a yarn or two to share…

Russ in pictures:
(search hard and you can even find a picture of young HRH Crown Prince Haakon!)

*Some of this information was obtained from Culture Shock! A Guide to Customs and Etiquette by Elizabeth Su-Dale.

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