Sunday, August 31, 2014

Helgefylla - weekend binge drinking in Norway

If you'd like to have fun in a different way... than you may travel to Norway right before Christmas and join the "Helgefylla".

In Norway, in the last weekend before Christmas, is the holiday party season known as julebordsesong (Christmas party season)/ Julebord festivities or „weekend binge drinking”, a well established tradition when everyone - man and woman - goes to bars and nightclubs getting fun and sometimes a bit wasted.
Helgefylla (Photo by Sven-Erik Knoff)
Helgefylla - weekend binge drinking  (Photo by Sven-Erik Knoff)
Weekend binge drinking is a sort of amazing yet paradoxically „moment”.
A lot of Norwegians - as any other citizen of the world - at a certain occasion or event, are drinking in moderate amounts just to be more open to express emotions and eventually to get engaged into a social conversation, while others enjoy the alcoholic consumption until they became hammered and almost senseless.

Despite the very high price of alcoholic beverages in Norway, restricted access to it (can be found only in special stores/ Vinmopolet) and quite stringent punishment if caught driving under the influence of alcohol (sometimes imposing the loss of driving privileges for lifetime, without appeal) ... it is always a way to rewind oneself!... and binge drinking is somehow popular here, and also accepted as an excuse for indulging if one is getting into antisocial behavior.

Regarding alcoholic beverage consumption in Norway it is said that:
- youth at 14 - 18 years old, binge drinking may be a common form of drinking even though they can be very friendly without having to drink first,
- amongst high school seniors was developed lately a sort of cultural phenomenon known as Russ”, a socially accepted venue for binge drinking, and in the same time, a symbolic practice as part of the transformation process going from child to adult,
- people over 27 year old binge drink on a typical drinking occasion, weekends and various celebrations, and one-day sick leave is for hungover employees.

As in any other corner of the world, at times, people need some time off from daily rules and pressure, and tend to get a bit unleashed at social gatherings, enjoy a good laugh and company while linger a glass of drink, and others get wasted ...

It could be(come) an occasional habit or just once in a lifetime experience that every person is worth trying at one moment to know the difference and, also, understand his/ her own limits and behavior.

The funny aspects about Norwegians - and any other people, in fact - getting wasted during the weekend, in julebordet, after outdoor activities or other special events are:
- a sudden happiness and an ease to socialize with strangers, freely without any internal boundaries,
- a tendency to get into bars with friends, colleagues or perfect strangers and eventually have sex afterwards, 
- starting a sudden friendship and intimacy while being emotional and sharing life stories and secrets - and keep in mind that you may get such liaison only for that night - because Norwegians have a saying “what happens in Julebordet stays in Julebordet”!

Quote about drinking - "It's like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don't know where your going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It's like the throw of the dice." - Jim Morrison

So, no matter if an active holiday, a cultural tour or other preferred activity, if you like to be sober or taste a glass of drink once in a while to get loose, keep your manners, be yourself, smile and enjoy every single aspect of your journey while traveling to Norway!