«Do you have anything like Carnaval in Norway?»

«Uhmm, well, kind of! The closest thing I can think of is something we call «russ». It’s…. The year you graduate from school, when you are 18-19 years old, you get these baggy pants – red or blue is the most common, but you can also find green and black, and it’s normal to decorate with stickers and write things on them, make them personal. And you get a hat, with a….. tail. The hat is in the same colour as your pants. You can also choose to buy a big car, or a bus, to decorate with a group of friends that also are russ. And you give the car a name, a theme and you’re using that car as your party crib/home during the celebration. Driving around in your hometown, and sometimes driving across the country to meet other russ from other places in Norway, it’s like a huge meeting, like a small festial, with alcohol and music and cars, and everyone is wearing their red or blue or green or black pants and hat.»

I looked at her to make sure she was following me.

«And then you run around like this, drinking, partying and do funny and stupid things in these pants for like three weeks. You get to fasten a small item to the tail of your hat for every little thing you do – every school has it’s own list of stuff to do. Once I was walking a dead fish like a dog through the streets of my hometown, and used fresh bread as shoes, for example. It’s like you can use these pants as an excuse to do whatever you want to, like a lawless, and you ARE kind of «excused», because it’s such a long Norwegian tradition – being an asswhole in red or blue pants for three weeks in May.»


«And the last day of this celebration called «russ», the 17th of May, we are walking in a parade in our hometown – all over Norway, drinking, giving away personal cards with funny quotes on to the children, shooting water on them and celebrate the National Day with the rest of the people of Norway. Oh my god, it’s the time of your life!»


ph_priv, 2009 – me in my russ clothes

Have you ever tried to explain the concept ‘RUSS’ to a foreigner? It’s the funniest thing. Russ 2013 – I hope you had the most amazing time, now life’s about to begin! Make the best of it! 

Now tell me – how was your russ celebration? Mine was… I was a part of a van called ‘Playvan’ (hahaha), drinking, doing cute innocent ‘russeknuter’ (the things you do to fasten items to the hat tail) and had the time of my life with my best friends and my (ex)boyfriend. AND I was the editor of the Russ Newspaper. Now – your turn, tell me about yours!

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