Every Spring, nearly 40,000 Norwegian students participate in a month-long celebration, spending thousands of dollars on disco busses, outfits, and an endless supply of booze. And, this all happens before the exams, crazy, right?
They spend 21 days cruising their towns’ streets, with enough alcohol to match any biker club, along with loud music and crude dancing, before they graduate from Norway’s high school.
Dressed in blue and red clothes, bearing the national flag, high school students flood the peaceful town streets by day and party by night.However, to afford such a lengthy celebration, the youngest need to engage in fundraising activities, or in Norway known as russedugnad.We’ll explain more in a bit!
How can you recognize a “russ”?
The “russefeiring” or in plain English russ celebration is a tradition only known in Norway. Here students celebrate the end of their high school education, which takes place in late Spring. Based on Norwegian law, most students turn 18 right before russefeiring, which is also the age limit for buying alcohol.
In the past, red and blue colors dominated their clothes, but now they can wear whatever they want. Many people don’t know that they have to wear the same clothes until the celebration ends, without washing it, if they want to avoid punishment. Of course, they can shower and change clothes beneath the official outfit.These days, the majority of students mostly wear “russeband,” similar to bandanas, and hoodies with their names printed and logo and the name of their group.
Big parties and huge business
Some high school students get together and buy vans or busses, which they use as a portable dancing floor. These vehicles are equipped with powerful speakers and lightning and can cost up to $300,000. However, an average bus that can accommodate up to 25 students costs approximately $116,000.
Parties usually take place in or around the busses, while youngsters hire drives to drive them around and to various festivals. Also, it’s common to invite other students who aren’t part of this celebration, and many of them are looking forward to getting invited. For example, busses with girls will only invite boys and vice versa.Some of them even bring their parents for a couple of days. However, some students avoid spending money on luxurious vehicles and decide to bike or walk instead.
How can they afford this?
Now, you’ve seen the costs, and how expensive this tradition can be. So, you must be wondering how high school students can afford all of this. Well, some of them prepare for years, saving money, while others organize fundraising activities.
This is quite a popular trend in Norway. A lot of students sell toilet paper, greeting cards, firelighters, socks, and other items. Additionally, parents and other family members are always there to offer financial help so their kids won’t feel left out.They even resort to online fundraising, just to get enough money and have fun with their friends.