Norwegian expression of the day: Russetiden

It's the time of year where drunk teenagers in bright red pants will become an increasingly common sight in Norway.

Norwegian expression of the day: Russetiden
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

What does it mean?

Russetiden consists of two words: russ and tid

Tid is easy, it means ‘time’. Russ is a more complicated concept. It refers to a senior year high schooler who is celebrating nearly being done with school. 

What is it?

It’s reserved for senior high schoolers only, and starts late April (although the exact date seems to be set earlier and earlier every year) and lasts until May 17th, the Norwegian national day.

Basically it’s four weeks of partying. By the time May 17th rolls around, the teenagers look like zombies. Russ students are easily identifiable by their russebukser – pants made for the russ.

There are a hundred oddities about russetiden. Norwegians don’t question them too much, but to foreigners they sound utterly mad. 

Firstly, russetiden is celebrated before exams, not after. That means teenagers spend weeks of getting completely sloshed – often at daytime and during school – before passing the most important tests of their high school year. Although as exams have been cancelled the last few years this won’t be a concern. 

Secondly, russetiden is – for most people – incredibly expensive. While the glamour and cost varies between schools and regions, some teenagers spend tens of thousands of kroners just on the bus.

Most russ drive around in buses – real buses. They’re called russebuss and many teenagers spend years planning who gets to rulle (which means ‘to roll’ and is a slang term for who gets be on the bus and who doesn’t).

Another feature of Russ is russeknuter – a long string of dares russ do to get medals fastened to their russelue (‘hat’). 

It’s used like this: 

Er du russ i år? – Are you ‘russ’ this year?

Endelig er det vår tur til å være russ! – Finally it’s our turn to be ‘russ’!

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Norwegian word of the day: Yr 

Given how often the weather changes in Norway, this is a useful one to know.

Norwegian word of the day: Yr 

What does it mean? 

Yr is the word used to describe a light drizzle in Norway. Yr is also the name of the country’s most popular weather app, which is run by public broadcaster NRK and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. 

Drizzle is precipitation with a drop size of less than 0.5 mm and is a transition between rain and clouds. Given you’ll unlikely to be measuring rain drops as they fall, you’ll typically be able to tell drizzle from feel. 

Most Norwegians are undeterred by the presence of drizzle unless they are expecting heavier rain to follow. 

The reason for this is that I am sure you will have had a Norwegian tell you at some point now when you’ve complained about being cold or wet- det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær (there is no such thing as poor weather, just inappropriate clothes”). 

However, yr shouldn’t be disregarded every time you come across it or if it’s on the forecast, especially up in the mountains, as a little bit of drizzle can soon become a rain shower. 

Use it like this: 

Det er meldt yr i morgen tidlig, kanskje vi bør utsette teltturen vår?

(It’s meant to be drizzling tomorrow morning, maybe we should postpone our camping trip?)