Ladies and gentlemen, I know some of you have been waiting for the Wife-Carrying competition photos for three years.
We are so sorry–we were never at the appropriate time in the appropriate place in Hancock during Heikinpaiva to present you with photos.
This year, you will be happy to know, we were.
Wife carrying, apparently, is an actual established bona-fide Finnish sport. I kid you not. Click on this link and you can learn the origins of this sport.
Apparently a robber named Ronkainen lived in Finland in the late 1800’s. He (and his fellow band of thieves) were accused of robbing women and food from nearby villages. Some say they carried the women on their backs as they ran away. Please read the entire Wikepedia article if you would like further theories as to the development of this–shall we say, unusual?–sport.
Here’s the scoop, readers. The announcer will read the rules. Each couple must accomplish three things as quickly as possible.
The man carries the wife to Station One. There they must unroll three rugs and shake vigorously. This is called “cleaning the house.”
Then they run to the “sauna” (which is a bench) and pour three ladles of loly (steam). They then switch each other with cedar branches. Any of you who have ever taken a sauna know this is a traditional practice. It invigorates the participants. So they say. (I have been in several saunas, but have never been beaten with cedar branches.)
Next, the participants dash to a table and pour coffee for their guests. The guests must be served first.
I am not kidding about this. These are the rules. At least in Hancock’s Heikinpaiva competition.
The man then carries the wife home amid much clapping, hollering and yelling.
Big excitement in da Copper Country!
I don’t recall the winner’s time. Somewhere between 50 seconds and 30 seconds.
Truly, all participants looked like they were having a great time!
One couple even got married either immediately preceding or following the competition. No kidding. I am not kidding about any of this.
The above photo depicts the soon-to-be-married couple. Can you imagine what they will tell their grandchildren about their wedding?