Remember when life was as simple as getting trollied in Plett for a week?
Things have changed a great deal since I was there, with the commercial aspect revved up and armbands and exclusive parties apparently the order of the day.
I wouldn’t know what goes on nowadays, but I did live in Norway and watched firsthand the madness that is “russ”. They don’t mess around, so bugger off with your seven day piss-up.
Nah, “russ” runs for a full month.
Norwegian teens on the cusp of graduating from high school celebrate “russefeiring” (or “the russ”), and everything centres around drinking, party buses, and the kinds of challenges that parents have nightmares about.
As is to be expected, students posted all about russ on social media, giving us a look at what goes down.
Seriously, Plett Rage on steroids.
Firstly some info via AP:
Dressed in red and blue overalls adorned with the Norwegian flag and matching emblems of school spirit, russ — short for the decadent senior celebrations called “russefeiring” — fill town streets by day and party at night for a month each year leading up to Constitution Day on May 17.
“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 at a school west of Oslo, said. “I don’t think anything in the world is like this.”
The biggest bash happens each year at Kongeparken, a theme park on the outskirts of oil-rich Stavanger. During a three-day festival — think California’s famed Coachella transported from the desert to the snaking fjords by the icy North Sea, Norway’s biggest music acts perform for 13,500 teens ready to rave at all costs.
Here, professionally painted coaches and double-decker buses line up, blasting specially commissioned music tracks from six-foot speakers or park in rings rigged with shared lighting, sound systems and DJs to create mini outdoor dance stages.
Driven around the country by professional drivers who can double their earnings taking a month-long sabbatical from their day jobs, the buses are less a method of transportation than discos on wheels. They often are kitted out with newly upholstered sleeping space for 20, laser lighting systems and speakers blasting bass so loud it makes your beer jump out of its glass.
And you drove up to Plett in your mate’s Corsa Lite.
Jolling in Norway is no cheap night out, with a beer costing well in excess of R100 five years ago, but one thing you quickly learn is that Norwegian parents have quite a bit of disposable income.
The standard cost for a bus all kitted out is often in excess of one million krone (a cool R1,7 million), with that cost split between the 15-25 students who call it home.
Yes, R1,7 million split between 25 people is still R68 000 a head. Some of the buses from this year’s russ cost in excess of three million krone.
Right, onto Business Insider with the pics and info below:
The russ starts in mid-April and lasts until Norwegian National Day on May 17.
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.
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 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.
Let’s finish with a little more on those injuries we mentioned earlier:
Painful injuries can be common. Wearing a heavy arm splint as he sits on the grass beside friends waiting for an afternoon concert to start, Jon Slettan tells how he drunkenly broke his collarbone a day earlier and is keeping himself medicated now with both beer and painkillers, a potentially dangerous combination.
Oh to be young again – although just imagine the hangover at the end of a month’s partying.
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