From Lions to Bears to Reindeer…Welcome to Heikinpaiva!

Welcome to Heikinpaiva, Hancock, Michigan. First let's watch the parade.


Settling in to watch the parade as it approaches


Looks like some Finnish king or prince?


Another Finnish folklore character


Yoko Onomaki


Yoko Onomaki and John Lennoniemi (you have to realize that lots of the Finns who settled around the Upper Peninsula have last names like “Maki” and “Niemi”) handed out the words to the song they sang:

“Imagine there’s no nisu..

It would make you cry…

No korpu for dunking…

Brings a tear to my eye

Imagine all the people…Living like the Finns”

(Nisu is a sweet bread and, I think, korpu is a hard toast for dunking in coffee.)

Cute girl on daddy's shoulders


Supporters of Finlandia University (the university in Hancock)


The Finlandia Lion


The Michigan Technological University Husky Band (from across the canal in Houghton) complete with fire!


Pink baby in sled


What mid-winter Heikinpaiva parade would be complete without a reindeer or two? (Here are a couple in their pen afterward.)


Let’s clap our hands and thank everyone for coming out for the parade  today.  The temperatures were warmer than usual–about 22 degrees.  The skies remained mostly cloudy, although both the sun and snow peeked out at various times. 

Thank you for joining us “When the Bear Rolls Over in His Den.”

Prepare yourselves, blog viewers.  We’re going to be in a photography mode for the next few days.  You’ll see a Wife Carrying Contest and Polar Plunging into the icy Lake Superior.  You’ll see winter pictures from the Keweenaw. 

Dress up in your boots and winter coat and chook (that would be a “hat” if you’re from around these parts) and mittens when you come over to Lake Superior Spirit for a few days.  Don’t want you to get too cold while you view the pictures!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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18 Responses to From Lions to Bears to Reindeer…Welcome to Heikinpaiva!

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    YAYYYYYYYYYYYY TY TY!! Will finally get to view that wife carrying!

  2. Clapping loudly in Australia, Kathy! I haven’t seen a parade in years, I love it! Looking forward to the next few days of posts. Is that a mop-beard on the Finnish folklaw character? Who cares, they all look great and are so inventive with their costumes! 😀

  3. john says:

    There is so much fun to be had in the UP without a power cord!

  4. Great! Can’t wait to see more! Fun festival!

  5. Sounds like some fun times up there – can’t wait to see more!!

  6. Dawn says:

    I remember much of that…but not fire coming out of a trombone?! And aren’t mittens called “chaps?” Or maybe not..I remember the chook for sure… and panking down snow…a lot of panking down snow…when I lived there in Hancock. Sigh… such memories! Can’t wait to see more!

  7. Clapping loudly here as well…reminding me of my home state- Minnesota…
    I am part Swedish…we had the St Paul Winter Carnival every year…

  8. Papa and Nanny says:

    Kath—Wish I there!!! Love ya!! Dad

  9. Reggie says:

    I had *NO* idea you had such a large population of Finns in the UP?! You guys do so much amazing stuff! Kathy, you are an absolute treasure trove of fascinating and unusual information. I LOVE visiting your blog.

  10. holessence says:

    Kathy – We get cold here, but you guys get really COLD waaaaay up there in God’s country! I love the “settling in to watch the parade as it approaches” photograph!

  11. Val Erde says:

    Brrrrrrr!! But I look forward to them, Kathy! I love these photos here, everyone looks so happy! And the alternative lyrics, lol!

  12. Carol says:

    Oh goody! Pictures! Love them, so keep them coming!

  13. Karma says:

    Fun pictures! I think the lion suit was the costume to have that day – I bet that person got to keep nice and warm. And maybe the fire guy in the band too!

  14. barb says:

    My friend, Mary, would love these pics! However, she’s somewhere out to sea in Antarctica where it may actually be colder than there! Will look forward to wintery pics from your beautiful UP.

  15. Kathy says:

    I am glad you all enjoyed the parade! (Could you hear the beat of the drum as it approached? Could you feel the icy winter air on your cheek? Were your fingers numb?) Thanks for pausing beside the road with us…

  16. Barbara Rodgers says:

    I’ve never been to a winter parade before! Love all the bright colorful costumes against the bright white snow… So festive! And the little sled – I used to ride in one of those – those were the days…

  17. Pingback: Heikinpäivä – A Senior's Take on Entrepreneurship and Management at Finlandia University

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