Forget the “American Pie” movies — teens can learn a thing or two about partying from their Norwegian counterparts.
Every year, Norwegian teens on the cusp of graduating from high school celebrate “russefeiring” or “the russ,” a month-long celebration centered on drinking, party buses, and wild challenges.
“In the American movies, we get the impression that they are so crazy. But we have the craziest celebrations here in Norway,” Fredrik Helgesen, a student leader of the russ committee, told the Associated Press. “I don’t think anything in the world is like this.”
This year, students aggressively documented russefeiring celebrations on social media, giving the rest of the world a look into the wild — and sometimes just bizarre — celebration.
Here’s what it’s like to experience what is quite possibly the craziest teen rager in the world.
The russ starts in mid-April and lasts until Norwegian National Day on May 17.
Revelers are immediately recognizable by their red and blue overalls — or russebukse — a crucial part of russ. Russebukse are for sale on the official russ website, but many people choose to personalize their overalls.
Much of the celebration is centered around party buses or vans. The most elaborate are rigged with speakers, lighting, and even mini dance floors, which can cost up to $350,000.
The average Russbuss is used by 15 to 25 students, and costs around $116,000. Many of the month’s parties take place in and around the buses, as hired drivers shuttle teens to various festivals.
One of the biggest music festivals is held at the theme park Kongeparken, which is transformed into a three-day concert venue.
The Associated Press called the event “Coachella transported from the desert to the snaking fjords by the icy North Sea.” Roughly 13,500 teens show up at the venue, “ready to rave at all costs.” While not raging at festivals or on buses, a key part of keeping the month-long party going is dares that students complete in order to win “knots.”
Many dares are simply absurd — like wearing bread on your feet all day.
Or, finishing a Big Mac in two bites.
Others are racy, like having sex outside. And, some just encourage drinking, like the dare to have 24 drinks in a single day. After criticism that russ was getting too wild, some new dares were invented to encourage teens to make good choices, such as getting tested for STDs or giving food to a homeless person.
The “knots” that students earn through the dares are trinkets that are tied to the russ cap, or russeknuter. For example, you’d get a tampon to tie to the cap if you chug a beer with two tampons in your mouth. The caps have been around since 1905, when they were used in graduation ceremonies to represent students’ acceptances into universities.
The partying and dares can take a toll on Norwegian teens as the month goes on. Everything finally comes to an end on May 17, a national holiday celebrating the signing of the Norwegian constitution. People celebrate the day with traditional garb and parades. Teens celebrating russ have parties and parades of their own, celebrating the end of the month.
After a month of partying, it’s time to get serious — exams are just around the corner.
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