17th of May has come and gone. It marked Norway’s constitution day, but also something else: the end of the festivities for the High School seniors. You see, Norway has this tradition, that one month before 17th of May – the seniors start going crazy.
In this picture there is a competition going on: which class of seniors can gather and tie the most juniors to the trees? That car is by the way a police car.
It doesn’t really make sense; the exams aren’t over yet, there is still a lot of work to be done at school – but the party starts anyway. The students buy something that looks like a tracksuit, mostly in blue or red (the color represents what kind of subjects you take), and decorate them to suit their personalities. They’ll wear these every day until the 17th. They also make cards to give out to kids, because somehow, putting on the tracksuit make you a celebrity in their eyes: you are almost done with school – while they have years and years left.
Here’s a picture of me from last year’s 17th of May. I decorated my suit with a worldmap, the Harry Potter quote “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good” and a whole lot more.
Last year I was part of this tradition, so like everyone else my age, I did a lot of Russ Challenges. Being a Russ; a senior in the one month period before 17th of May, is almost like a free card – you can do all sorts of stupid things (like go to the McDonalds drive through with a shopping cart, or stand at one side of a pedestrian crossings and wish random people “Welcome to the other side!”) and everyone will just shake their heads going “it’s just the Russ.”
One of the challenges is to lock yourself to another Russ for a day at school. Best choose someone that has the same subjects as you!
One weekend during this period, there is a party seniors from all over the country come to attend (because, yes, there are a lot of parties). Martin Garrix, Tinie Tempeh, the Chainsmokers and other famous artists preform in a big amusement park where the Russ basically takes it to the next level. Here’s the official promo from 2015, when I attend:
Oh, and some of the challenges the Russ do; they involve tourists. If you ever come to visit Norway in May, you have now been warned!