Tuesday, 1 May 2012

₪ Russefeiring

Iris serving Ambrosia in a Feast
 The first day of May, has always have been a special one. Browsing the books, there are always fascinating events that we can spot and study, but there are indeed some of them that were rather notable. It would be a day like the May 1st 1328, when Scotland would be recognised as an independent Kingdom, only to wait until 1707 when both England and Scotland would get to form the Kingdom of Britain. It was a May's first of 1786, when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart premiered his notorious Figaro's Marriage at the majestic Vienna, and the very same calendar day for the year 2011 when Pope John Paul II was beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Of course, it would be safe to say, that the most influential first of May in our daily life, was the one occurred in Illinois's Chicago in 1886, when thousands of people protested in a modern French Revolution for their working and human rights, something that would eventually lead to the Haymarket Massacre, and to the eight hour working basis that we enjoy today in the modern civilised world.

 Leaving charismatic Chicago behind, and crossing 6,000 kilometres to the Northeast, there is a rather unusual and interesting custom in the Kingdom of Norway, the beautiful country of the mythical Gods, the trolls and ... the moose. Of course Norway is much much more than that, as its landscapes, nature and fauna, can literally stun even the most hard core city lovers, while its customs and traditions are many and beautiful. And when it comes to traditions, then the Norwegians are among the world's finest in creating, maintaining and celebrating them. It is a tradition to have traditions in Norway would me dare say. Every year, a large 50,000 high school graduates from all over the country, storm out in the opens and celebrate Russefeiring, a feast that signifies the end of the school year, and comes as a prelude of Norway's national day in the 17th of May, up to which the students's feast lasts, when the baton is handled over for the national celebrations.
 This day, is perhaps the most anticipated day of the year for the students, as they will start a marathon of endless parting, with gigantic amounts of alcohol, junk food, all day dancing, singing, the necessary to the youth drugs, and of course; the hormones's favourite; sex. For two weeks, the teenagers, will have the greatest time of their up to that point life, and will put the patience of all the rest to test. Aw, yes, each group has a bus as well. Yes, they actually do have a bus. Each undergraduate, will start to gather money during high school, that its only purpose is -in combination with the money of the other students that form the group- to purchase and renovate the bus. The buses can move, and they are especially modified, furnished and decorated in the interior as a wonderful, modern and spicy sex motel with a bar that even a nightclub could be jealous of, and a sound system that is more than capable to support a small concert! Most of the people are not that fond of the custom as only disturbing it appears to them, but must I do confess, I like it a lot, as I see happy youth, living life at its very best for them. Ruusfeiring is an organised feast. A russpresident, a russparty coordinator, a newspaper russeditor, journalists, a contraceptive responsible and some other funny positions are given to the persons with the weight to make the arrangements. Of course, it would be rather not necessary to mention, that each academic section has its own colours and crests, and is celebrated by all Scandinavian countries as well.
 Considering the custom it self, it traces its roots back to 18th century Denmark and its universities that the Norwegians attended, since there were none in Norway at the time. Here, the hate to love and vice versa relationship between them, comes in the game, as the Danes always kept a higher eye upon their mountainous cousins in the north. Reason to that unjustifiable snobbism, was the stronger relationship that the Danes had with the rest of the aristocratic royal houses of the European kingdoms and resulted a mockery by the Danish students towards the newly admitted Norwegian people, as "farmers" and "bumpkins". Those honorific titles -if I may be a bit humorous- they would keep during their studies, and would get rid of when they would pass the tests, and graduate, while still even in nowadays, if a Dane and Norwegian would met in a pub, it would be more than sure that some jokes' exchanging,
would take place after the fifth pint. The second theory on the matter, supports that the term derived
The Russ with the typical uniforms
 from the latin phrase Cornua Depositorus meaning literally "Horn Depositing" and can be understood as both taking off the horns or putting on the horns, due to the double application of the term deposit. The two theories about the origin of the word Russ are still opposing and not verified, as the first theory for Rusticus is acknowledged internationally by the historians, with Denmark as epicentre (of where the custom originally comes from) and the second theory for Cornua Depositorus being supported by the Norwegian people, while many of them are reject completely the first case origin and possibility, others for historical reasons and others because they found it offending. Here we must say that despite the fact that an internationally accepted opinion has great credibility, no one knows his household better than the house-lord himself, so we must really take under consideration what the Norwegian people believe on their very own customs, and -if I may say- know better.

❖ Etymologically speaking, the word Russefeiring, is as usually, formed by two parts:

Russ + Feiring 

Farming in Ancient Hellas
• The first one, Russ, derives from the latin Rusticus which stands for Rustic, Rural, Agricultural or Bumpkin, rooting back to the hellenic Αγρούς ⎜pron.  Agrus ⎜☞ Field ⎜ from which the latin took its suffix -rus for field, farm, land, and even country, while in Wikipedia we find a more elaborate explanation too, that 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. 

1.1・Russ ‣ Norwegian 
1.2Rustik ‣ Norse
1.3Rustikal ‣ Germanic 
1.4Rusticus ‣ Md.Latin
1.5Russ ‣ Latin
1.6Αγρούςpron.  Agrús ⎜ ‣ Hellenic

Considering the theory about Cornua Depositorus, the etymology of the word Cornua is Hellenic, while Depositorus, is also from Hellenic origin, being form from the active prefix -de and the verb ponere meaning literally "put away"

Bronze horn from Phaestus, Crete
2.1・CornuaLatin  ☛ The meanings of the word are "horn of an animal" and "wind instrument"
2.2・Κάρνον  ⎜pron.  Kárnon ⎜ ‣ Hellenic  
2.2.1  Κέρας / Κέρατο  ⎜pron.  Kéras - Kérato ⎜ ‣ Neo/Modern Hellenic

Tip: The terms Horn, Corn, Carat, Cherry and Cornwall are derivatives of Kárnon.

3.1.1・Depositorus ‣ Latin 
3.1.2・Depositus ‣ Latin 
3.1.3・Depositum ‣ Latin Noun
3.2.1・De + Positio ‣ Latin 
3.2.2・ΔυςDys ‣ Hellenic  ☛ Dis ⎜De ‣ Latin
3.3.1・Positio ‣ Latin v. 
3.3.2・Ponere ‣ Latin v.
3.3.3・ΑπόApó ‣ Hellenic + 
3.4.1 -ere verbal suffix meaning To leave, let go, from, put, place.

A Priestess
• The second part of the word, Feiring means Celebrating, and finds its origin to the norse fejring, a derivative of the germanic feire and latin feriae. 
Main root to all of them, is the term Ιέρεια ⎜Hiereia ⎜pron. Iéria ⎜☞ Priestess, which is connected due to the religious feasts.

4.1Feiring ‣ Norwegian 
4.2Fejring ‣ Norse 
4.3Feire ‣ FrisianGermanic 
4.4Ferial ‣ Old Frisian 
4.5Ferialis ‣ Md.Latin 
4.6Feriae ‣ Latin
4.7FιέριαιFiériaepron. Iérie ⎜☞ Priestesses ⎜ ‣ Hellenic  ☛ The Digamma letter F is silent.
4.8ΙέρειεςIéries  ⎜‣ Modern Hellenic

☞  Today many western languages contain tens of terms that derive from the hellenic Fιέριαι ⎜Feriae latin. 
Most notable are the words fiesta, feast, festival, fanatic etc. 

The beautiful tradition of Russetid
 In other words, if we would literally translate the term Russfeiring according to the meanings that its parts had 2,500 years ago, we would say: Agricultural Feast. Today starts a difficult period, as the Russefeiring Headquarters happens to be 30 meters from our house's yard. May they have mercy on us, and our nerves to last long, but most importantly, I wish; may all Russ boys and girls have an unforgettable and great partying period that will trigger a happy, wonderful summer 

Note from the writer 
 After the publication of the article, I found myself on "trial" about my intentions upon the custom of Russfeiring and the Norwegian people themselves, as it was found negative to make word about alcohol and drugs consumption during the feast, as well for recording the sexuality of the students. I find it extremely sad, in 2012, to still have taboos and prejudices upon one of the most natural and pleasant parts of life; sex. By all means I never implied that there are roman orgies taken part in the feasts (and even it would be like that, I still would have no problem), nor that all students proceed into the activities. On the contrary, besides the lingual and etymological analysis which is after all the theme of this blog, the articles's purpose is to introduce this unique and beautiful custom internationally. Nevertheless, history has to be recorded despite personal opinions, feelings and lifestyles. Yet, if anyone still finds offensive reading of alcohol, drugs and sex, about an individual feast of the youth, then I will definitely not apologise for my modern viewing of life, nor for supporting the Russ's activities and rights to enjoy life.