Hazing in Ísafjörður

As I came back across the harbor after lunch this afternoon I saw a crowd gathering and heard a lot of young men making silly noises. There was this one young man standing around without a shirt, smeared in what looked like soap (but turned out to be eggs), looking down on the small boat dock.

Curious, I snapped a picture and stepped closer.

The next thing I knew I was surrounded - by 8-10 cars! Since there is nothing interesting to do in Ísafjörður, it seems, the youth spend their free time driving around and around and around in their cars with the windows open and the music blaring, hoping that something exciting would happen. There were at least 20 cars that passed me last night at midnight on the way home, and here were all these cars come by in no time!

And what a sight there was to see - down below were two more young kids with bare chests and all sorts of yucky stuff on their pants and skin. They were being pelted with eggs by the crowd, and it was strange, as they were not resisting at all.

One of the guys timidly got down and dipped his toes into the water - I knew enough Icelandic to understand that he was complaining about the coldness of the water.

The crowd yelled "Áfram! Áfram!" - come on, come on, and he eventually sat down straddling the pipe that marks the berths for the small boats. He again complained about the coldness of the water as he slid out towards the end of the pole. Now it was the next guy's turn.

He, too, gingerly got down and straddled the pipe.

And off they went, they began jousting, each trying to force the other guy into the water. But they seemed to be an equal match (frozen and drunk) and they quickly both fell into the water.

I asked the receptionist when I got to school what on earth that was. She said that during the first week of high school, the freshmen have to go through a hazing. They are "sold" to the third-year-students and have to do everything that is asked of them that day. They submit, because that is the tradition, and of course they cannot wait to be third-year students themselves and buy their own slaves that they force to do silly things.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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