Russeknuter Posted by on Apr 14, 2009 in Culture, Traditions

Knots.  No, not the kind you tie.  Or the measurement for nautical speed.  Or the kind that make your back hurt.  I’m talking about more or less badges of fulfillment of some kind of task or dare by a Russ during the festivities leading up to Syttende Mai.  The knot itself is usually an item that represents the accomplishment.  The word knot or knute makes sense when you think of how these items are presented on a Russ- strung on the tassle of the hat for all to marvel at. 

If you haven’t heard about what kind of tasks these young daredevils seek to complete, you are probably getting antsy by now.  Many of the things young Russ do today to earn knuter are actually quite controversial due to the nature of the tasks.  Some involve public nudity, elicit sexual acts, and outright bodily harm due to alcohol, most commonly.  There are of course more tame ways to earn knuter that don’t cause so much worry among parents and police.

The following is a list of examples of knots that Russ have been known to accomplish:

Have sex outdoors or in the forest (Ha sex utendørs eller i skogen) which earns you a stick or a pine cone.

Spend the night in a tree (Overnatt i et tre) earns a stick from the tree.

Eat a big mac in 4 bites (Spis en big mac i fire biter) earns a piece of the box the burger came in.

Buy condoms or tampons without talking (kjøp kondomer eller tamponger uten å snakke) earns a piece of the item bought.

Drink a bottle of wine in 20 minutes (drikk ei flaske vin i 20 minutter) earns the wine cork.

Crawl through the supermarket while barking and biting customers legs (krabb gjennom matbutikken mens man bjeffer og biter bein til kunder) earns a dog biscuit.

Crawl on one’s hands and knees for an entire school day (Krabb på hender og kne hele skoledagen) earns a toy.

Be sober for the entire Russ period (Vær edru hele russetiden) earns a fizzy drink cork.

I doubt that last one is completed all too often.  If you could imagine yourself at that age, participating in such a celebration and you were in charge of making the list, what kinds of knuter would you come up with?


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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Lil:

    Concerning the knuter people come up with, do the police ever arrest people or do they just join in the fun as well?

  2. Kari:

    Students have definitely been known to get arrested. They do some crazy stuff. No, the police would not just join in the “fun” if it was too inappropriate. The police take it seriously-more so today than in the past I think because kids are getting more daring.