Welcome into adulthood

Portuguese Rituals
The Norwegian RUSS

When do you become a russ?

At the end of your 3. year on secondary high school, you get an option if you want to become a russ or not. A russ comes in two different colours, red and blue. This depends on what subjects you take at school.


Why do the russ celebrate/party?

A month before the exams, the russ go crazy with friends, other russes and alcohol. They are celebrating that they will soon graduate.


When is the russeperiod?

It starts May 1. and ends the night of May 17. Many russ start their preparations a year in advance. They have to prepare their russecards, russecars and russeoutfit. They often gather around 7 or 8 people in a car and drive around together, doing cord knots. The colour of the cards, cars and clothes depend on which colour russ you are, red or blue.


The russecar
In the beginning of the school years, the students gather up in groups. Most groups buy their own car. These are often old, rusty vans, but once in a while, some buy a real bus. They equip their vehicles with huge loudspeakers, sofas, tables and all kinds of stash. It often turns out like a bar on wheels. They paint it on the outside in red, and write things on it, like their names and funny sayings.



The russ has a newspaper as a charity. A russ newspaper is a funny way to present all the students from every school. Russ newspapers are sold by the russ on the streets. The first russ newspaper in Norway came out in 1919.


The parade on May 17th

On 17th of May, the russ take part in the parade. They make a lot of noise, and throw russecards all over. Drumming and singing is a regular thing to do for the russ. After the parade the russ-president gives a speech about the time they have been russ, and a little about how the time after will be.


Typical events

We have something that we call russedåp. They get “baptised” as russ. They get a name and a task. The event happens a couple of months before May, and it includes lots of drinking.


The 1st of May is the day that the russ get official. It is the first day of the russ period, and therefore they arrange parties. After this date, the russ are able to do many crazy things. They have a lot of cord knots. These knots involve a lot of crazy things.

The russ people take part in several gatherings. The russ all over Norway get together and do coarse and nasty things. They party and drink a lot. At some of these events there can be thousands of russ.



A russecard is a small card that the students design and trade with each other, and they also hand them out to little kids in May. It has got the same size as a business-card. On the cards they often make jokes and give out a fake name, number and address. There is often a slogan or a quote.


The outfit

The russ-outfit contains some trousers with braces and they often décor it with different signs and letters. It is a tradition to wear their trousers in the whole period. The trousers have colours after what kind of russ you are. They also have a hat and a whistle. The hat is red and has a thread with russ-knots.


The weirdest thing is that after having partying for a more than two week, you have your exams. Luckily not all the russ only party, they do some studying as well!

Secular/Human-Ethic confirmation in Norway


The meetings. We had five meetings where we talked about different states in life. We talked about: Alcohol, sexuality, sex, drugs, discrimination, important choices and spirituality. It was like a school class, but more open and optional. We got to know new people with the same attitude towards life, we had small tasks and we had to work together to solve them. The meetings were led by three different leaders that were like a different kind of teacher.


Camp Refugee.

Before we started the preparatory-meetings there was this Camp, Camp Refugee, we had to go through. It was a realistic role play where you play a refugee in a refugee-family with twenty family members. Everyone got their own passport and a family role. The family father was also the leader of the group. The goal was to get a permit to stay in Norway. We had to stay up all night, and walk. We only got two hours' sleep, and ate nothing but a spoon of rice each in twenty four hours. Before we started walking, we had to collect papers that would help us get out of “Syria”. The people who led the role-play, treated us like real refugees. They wore military clothes and acted like they were real soldiers. All the girls were not allowed show any skin or hair, except from the face. We had to hide from cars that passed us, and we had to work hard to pass the “borders” so we could get to Norway. Only two people got a permit to stay in Norway. It was an exiting experience and we got a small peek in how a refugee's life is.



We gathered in the City Hall. There was singing, poems, dancing etc. Everybody was nicely dressed, most girls in national costumes (bunad) or a pretty dress, the boys wore a suit, and it was solemn. We got a diploma on stage and they took a group picture of us.



The party

After the ceremony each one of us had a party to celebrate the confirmation. We gathered in a house or rented place and had a big family party with cakes, gifts, food, speeches and toasts. Some parents or other family-members even made some songs and photo-albums.


“Blue Monday”
The Monday following the confirmation-weekend we could choose to be at school with the other students that had a religious confirmation, or go out for a shopping day. Most chose to have the shopping day on the same day as the ones who had a religious confirmation since they had their confirmation later than us.



Religious Confirmation in Norway

Religious confirmation is one of the rituals into adulthood. It is a Christian ritual, which takes place in the church. We started our confirmation preparations about a year before the main event. We were divided into different groups with different themes, such as sport, outdoor activities, normal, weekends and scouts. They do different activities and go to church to attend services 8 times during the period. Other helpful activities like e.g. charity are part of the preparations.

The ceremony in church is as a normal service, but during in the service the priest and the vicar say a prayer for each of the confirmants.

After church we celebrate with a party with family and friends, and they give us presents, such as money, silver, a Bible and other personal things. We serve the guests a lot of good food and cakes, and we take a lot of pictures. Almost all the girls and some boys get national costume (bunad), for their confirmation.

The following Monday, we call Blue Monday, because it is a strange day. We have a day off from school and instead we go to the shopping center and spend our money. But not everybody spends their money on Blue Monday, instead they put the money on a saving account, and spend it later, when they are older.


Graduation ceremony in Lithuania by Aivaras

Graduation is school event in which students receive their academic degree. This is one of the most important days in a pupil‘s life. Every minute of studying becomes meaningful after you get your diploma. But lets look closer into the ceremony iteself.

Usually the ceremony takes its place in school. All students gather with their families. There are no tension no nervousness because everybody knows that they have reached their goal. All students greet each other, smile, feel satisfied about finishing school. Although despite all the joy some sadness might be seen in students‘ eyes – after all these years they are no longer school pupils. They will never meet some of their classmates or teachers again. A new world is waiting for them.

The ceremony begins with solemn arrival of the students. Many of them rent  limos or borrow their parents‘ cars. Then everyone listens to a speech of a head of the school. Then the school staff gives diplomas to each student personally. Teachers wish their graduates best of luck, give them some last tips for the further life. After the official part students spend some more time with their families, receive good words and even presents from them. The graduation night is usually celebrated by closest classmates.

Graduation day is very important for all pupils. Despite the official meaning of this event everybody acts freely, feels happy, satisfied. The following night usually belongs to the graduates. It is the last night that they can spend with their classmates until everybody continues their life path separately.

Hundred days untill exams in Lithuania by Kamilė Žiūkaitė

School festivals are very important for all students but especially for graduates who spend their last year at school. So it is very important that this year would be memorable and with lots of fun.

One of the most cheerful festivals for senior students is Hundred days till exams. It is a festival on purpose to mention that there are only 100 days left before final exams. On this day the most important things are: the official part with songs and poems, the funny part made by graduates, and a play created by  junior classes.


One of the most important things on this day is the official part. Students sing a school anthem, then a song of their choice, which express their thoughts on life and their future. It is a special moment,which is a very calm and serious part of the festival. Students also say poems which are about life and about all the years spent at school. They say words from their hearts.


A play performed by graduates is also a very important thing in this festival. In this play there is school life shown, all the years that have gone through and special moments are played by students. To my mind, it is the most cheerful part of the festival. I am also very happy that when my class was having this festival I had a chance to play some roles. Even though these roles were not very important and not the main ones, but I had a really great time and I will remember our play forever.


A play held by junior students is very important too. The eleventh graders are responsible not only for making the main decorations but also for making a play in which they show the funniest moments from graduates time spent at school. Their play was great, they did a lot of work while practising and trying to know the graduates better.


Hundred days untill exams is important for all students: both for junior and senior. We have to make plays, learn songs, poems and decorate everything. It is a hard work but in the end we have a great festival, which brings young people together and lets us know each other more and more. It is an emotional day from which the last period of time at school starts and it is very important to make this festival amazing and memorable. This day was one of the most cheerful days in my life and I am going to remember it all my life.

The first of September in Lithuania by Gertrūda Šaulytė

In Lithuania the first of September is known as the day of Science and Knowledge or as the first day of school. This day is especially important for the first and twelfth grade students.

The first of Septemberis a special day for the first graders because on this day they go to school for the first time. For most children this experience is full of excitement and joy. It’s the beginning of long journey whitch is going to take twelve years to finish. They will learn a lot of new things. Such as reading, writing and counting. They will also experience a lot of new things such as making new friends. School will become a big part of their lives. And hopefully they will remember this very special day for the rest of their lives.

The first of September is also very special for the twelfth graders because it’s going to be the last year of school. It’s the last time going back after summer holiday in totheir old classrooms with all of their classmates.  In Lithuania we have very beautiful tradition. The twelve grade students lead the first graders to their classrooms. So it’s very nice experience for both twelfth and first grade students.

To sum up I would like to say that the first of September is a very important celebration and it is important for all students. This day is full of great traditions and it is worth to remember it.

The Last Bell in Lithuania by Jorūnė Banionytė

The big part of the student's life is spent at school. Day by day, the classmates become the best friends and school becomes the second home. The last year of High School is full of various special moments and occasions, such as the 1st of September, 100 days till the exams and so on. But one of the most sentimental and memorable days is called the Last Bell.


Probably, the word “last” speaks itself. It means, that everyday events and small details won't repeat again. The bell that daily informed about the beginning of the lesson, on the Last Bell day rings for the last time.


There are some interesting customs on this day. The graduating students take their class teacher from home to school in an original way (e.g. limousine, old fashioned car, motorcycle and so on). Sometimes students go to the city, where photos are taken. After that, students return to school, gather in their classes, share memories, speak with their teacher and wait for the ringing bell. In contrast to the 1st of September, when the graduating students take the first-former students to school, on the Last Bell day the first-formers lead the graduating students to the hall, where the celebration begins. The younger students perform songs, the teachers deliver speeches. Younger students give souvenir bells to the graduating students as a symbolic reminiscence present of the last day at school.


It should be mentioned, that celebration often gets emotional as students realise that school times are really about to end. However, the sadness of leaving their school and classmates mixes with the anxiety about the upcoming exams and the excitement of the life-changing events. So, the celebration leaves a deep mark in the memory of students.


All the celebrations during the last year at school are important and beautiful, but the lovely and lasting traditions, the cosy gathering of all the classmates and teachers for the last time makes the Last Bell day special and particularly memorable.

My ,,Jugendweihe"

My name is Lara, I'm from Germany, I want to tell you something about my "private" Jugendweihe party.

My opinion is that you do not necessarily have to participate in the official celebrations.

But for me, having a celebration when you are 14 means that you come into the circle of adults.

Now back to my private party. We celebrated in closest family circle and with friends. We had a lot of fun.

We had a delicious dinner and danced a lot. Also I got presents. The best present was a trip to Tenerife in October this year. My mum gave it to me .  Also I got many small presents, too. And a lot of congratulation cards. The party was very good. 



My ,,Jugendweihe" by Marieke Hornung


My name is Marieke and I want to tell you something about my ,,Jugendweihe". For me it meant  to be accepted into the circle of adults.

Organising a ,,Jugendweihe" takes about one year- I want to report about it. Questions you think about are: Which activities do I want to take part in? What shall my party be like? What do I wear?,  How do I want my hair?, Who do I want to invite to my private party? Jugendweihe is arranged by an organisation. My parents had to pay about 100 Euros.  There are many different offers for afternoon activities or weekend trips that take place in the year towards your Jugendweihe. For example there is a fashion show, ,,Jugenweihe" trips to Paris and....

At the actual celebration we were very excited. There were speeches and very good show acts. We all had to walk up on stage and got a rose and a book about Europe.

 At my private party I also gave a speech. We were dancing and ate lots of very good food.

I got a lot of congratulations from my family. I got many presents- mostly money , and many little surprises.

That was my ,,Jugendweihe" in Germany.


Jugendweihe, Konfirmation, Firmung- Rituals in Germany

In Germany there are three different rituals for being welcomed into adulthood. Most of them take place when you are in Year 8 or 14 years old. At that age we believe that "children" turn into "adults" -we expect them to be more conscious in their decisions and think more about the consequences of their actions. 160 years ago the Jugendweihe tradition started and at the time it was called "Erlangte Verstandsreife" (celebrating the "maturity of acquired reasoning"). "Konfirmation" (Protestant) and "Firmung" (Catholic) are initiations in church. "Jugendweihe" is a non-religious ritual for all those who want to celebrate the process of becoming an adult and/or who will not have the celebration in church. Some teenagers do not take part in neither of the three rituals but have a party with their families instead.


 In 1997, I celebrated my "Jugendweihe". The celebrations were held at our theatre in Leipzig . All my fellow classmates were there, too and we all dressed up. There were speeches and music and we all had to walk up on stage and got a certificate. We also got a book about Europe- seems like the project was always meant to be! In the afternoon I went bowling with my family and cousins. We also had a fancy dinner. I got many presents- mostly money. The next day all our teachers congratulated us and asked us if we wanted them to call us "Sie" instead of "du" (that is the German way of addressing someone formally). We all declined the offer but felt so grown up. That is what I remember.


Marieke, Lara and Caroline will tell you what "Jugendweihe" is like in 2013.



One year before your "Jugendweihe" the preparation process begins: Throughout the year the "Jugendweihe"-organisation in your town offers workshops, talks and other activities. Attendance is mostly voluntary. Examples for such activities are: workshops on good manners; cosmetics, making dresses, hairstyles, learning about money, learning about your duties and rights when you are 14, dancing; trips to the concentration camp "Buchenwald", trips to our "Bundestag" or debates. 

12 000 young "adults" take part in a "Jugendweihe celebration" in Saxony this year. In Saxony it is more popular than religious equivalents.



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