Norway High School Graduates Get Ready to Party
OSLO, Norway—Norwegian high school graduates will hold a series of festivities from May 1 to the Norwegian National Day, on May 17, in a tradition over three hundred years old.
Called Russ high school graduates each year wear red, blue, or black overalls, hats and whistles while running through the streets to celebrate the end of thirteen years of school. The celebration is also a chance for them to ready themselves to enter adulthood.
On Friday April 24, more than 10,000 graduates gathered in Oslo’s Tryvann Park to join the opening festivity for this year’s russ, called ditt livs party (Your life’s party). According to Oslo police, this year they received far fewer complaints than previous years.
The tradition goes back to the 1700s, at a time when no universities existed in Norway, and Norwegians would attend the University of Copenhagen to study alongside Danish students. Arriving at the university, students had to pass the Examen Artium in order to be enrolled. After completing their examinations, horns were placed on their foreheads and they were ridiculed by older students. When the results from the exams were ready, the students would participate in a ceremony called Examen Depositiones, in which they were called up to the examinator; if they had passed the test, their horns would be removed, as a sign of wisdom and subjugation of the wild animal within. From that point, the young persons had the right to call themselves students.
The modern Norwegian russ tradition dates back to 1905, when the red russ caps were introduced. The caps were initially only used by boys, and were inspired by Germanstudents, who in 1904 wore red caps when they visited Norway. In 1916, blue caps were introduced at the Oslo Handelsgymnasium, a high school specializing in economics.