Forget the “American Pie” movies, because Norwegian teens take the graduation party to the next level. This is a month-long celebration focused on expensive party busses, drinking, and some wild activities, such as running naked across the bridges or having sex on roundabouts.
Additionally, high school students post photos and videos on social medial, giving us a quick glimpse into this wild, and sometimes quite a strange celebration. However, considering only one bus costs approximately $116,000, you must be wondering how students can afford these costs.
Well, they also have another tradition, such as “dugnad russ,” or in plain English, fundraise money, to buy and decorate buses, vans, or cars. Now, let’s see how Norwegian students manage to get enough funds to have a 30-day long celebration.
The early beginnings
It all started with a hat in the early 1900s, or a cap, to be exact. Students were inspired by a German fashion show, which focused on red russ caps, and later became part of graduation celebration from Norwegian high schools. This was a transition period from them, switching from teenage years to adulthood.
Considering the majority of students turn 18 at that time, or in other words legal to drink alcohol, this type of celebration started getting out of the hand. Therefore, they would engage in various activities such as drinking and partying from late May until early June, while wearing red and blue clothes.
Red represents general education, while blue means business and financial studies. Back in 70s, students started buying old vans or buses and painted them in the same colors. They became mobile parting units where kids could enjoy music, alcohol, and dancing.
Over the years, Russetid became a serious business because the busses came with themes and names, as well as powerful speakers, stunning decorations, and lighting. It’s like owning a nightclub on a wheel.
Of course, students have to hire a driver on top of everything; therefore, this type of celebration is quite expensive.
How students finance this celebration
Dugnad russ is a popular tradition in Norway, and since buses are costly, they have to come up with the money. The fastest and probably the easiest way to get funding is to apply for sponsorship deals. In this case, students will try to attract sponsors and, in return, print their logos on the vehicles.
On the other hand, some students will create russ newspapers, that are usually satirical and sell fast, to gather enough money for their celebration. Additionally, friends and family are always there to pitch in for a new bus.
Some students even resort to old fashion ways to raise money, such as selling various products, like toilet paper, firelighters, greeting cards, and so on.
However, to fundraise a lot of money, they start planning early. You would be surprised how serious students are about this celebration. Basically, they spend one-month partying, and to have some wonderful time, they need to have enough funds.