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Russ in Norway
High school graduation is right around the corner for students all over the world yet; we come to find that no other country celebrates more distinctively than Norway during their russefeiring (Russ Celebration).
According to Wikipedia, the word russ is "inherited from the Danish word rus, which as an abbreviation of Latin rusticus ("rural"), in former times used to ridicule new students at a university. A more elaborate explanation claims the word comes from the Latin phrase cornua depositurus, which means 'bound to put aside one's horns.' This phrase is the name of an old, Danish university acceptance ceremony, the name of which was eventually simplified to just the last syllable" (Wikipedia.com)
Students wear distinctive overalls and caps depending on their line of study and wear them from the 1st to the 17th of May without removing or washing them. Red overalls represent courses geared toward higher education, blue for business, white for medical and social, black for mechanics and electronics, and green for agricultural fields. The cap matches the overalls by color and should be worn for the entire national day (May 17th) which completes "russefeiring." Everyone also gets a whip for banging on things rhythmically during chants, and a whistle to make noise during the National Day parade.
Students also create russ cards which mock business cards and have their picture, contact details, and a slogan on the front. These are handed out to anyone who requests them, mainly friends and family. The more cards you collect, the more popular you appear.
Students travel around in russ busses which usually have a theme and song to go with them. The colors of the buses match the colors of the overalls worn.
So, next time you're traveling in Norway during the first two weeks of May, keep your eye open for the russ busses as they pass by!
The official Norwegian Russ website is http://www.russen.no/