Date of Award
Russefeiring (Russ celebration), the Norwegian celebration of high school graduation, is a coming of age rite of passage for contemporary Norwegian youth. Past research has suggested that Russetid (the time of Russ) features the intensified use of alcohol to construct the liminal ritual space and to facilitate social equality, allowing russ to explore their identities with low stakes. However, qualitative interviews with 8 Norwegian young adults suggests that russetid functions to uphold cultural conceptualizations regarding social class, gender, and alcohol use and is not an institution which facilitates equality or social experimentation/self expression. Students self-police each other based on the aforementioned stigmas through physical violence, peer pressure, and harassment. Russetid’s cultural significance comes from its reflection of important Norwegian cultural values. The interviews conducted emphasized the importance of social class, secularism, sexuality, patriotism, nationalistic pride, and gender roles in Norwegian society.Russetid teaches these values through an intensified ritual performance, enculturating russ into the culture of Norwegian adulthood, establishing a concept of Norwegian identity, and creating a homogenized population with a collective system of beliefs regarding the aforementioned themes. The aspect of alcohol use is particularly important in Norwegian culture and Russetid. Excessive alcohol consumption introduces the drinking culture of Norwegian adults to Russetid participants who are newly of drinking age. Taken in its entirety, the Norwegian tradition of Russetid offers a powerful window into both shared and contested values of Norwegian adulthood.
Masheck, Kynnedy, "Russetid: The Norwegian Ritual Transition to Adulthood" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 664.