I recently came across a peculiar Finnish tradition that really peaked my interest. What I found so interesting was not necessarily the event itself, but the prize. Now in order to explain the prize I have to explain this Finnish past time.
The event is known as wife carrying, or eukonkanto. It comes from an old Finnish tale were women were stolen from villages by a gang of robbers, and the women were slung over the robbers backs. This some how turned into a sport… I mean.. how did that conversation go?
Guy1: Hey man, remember that time those robbers stole Jeff’s wife?
Guy1: Wanna throw our wives over our shoulders and race through the woods like we stole ’em?
Guy2: Yeah, I’m not doing anything.
I’m by no means against it, I find it thoroughly entertaining. In fact I looked it up, and the sport of wife carrying takes place in America, with the world championships taking place in Finland. Wouldn’t mind competing in that at some point. Probably should get a wife first, for the sake of the purity of the sport and all.
The part I like the most, as I said before, are the prizes. First, I just love how they measure it out. It is absolutely Nordic style and I love it. The winners get the wife’s weight in beer, and 5 times her weight in money. Beautiful.
If you think about it, there is actually a lot of strategy that is going into this race. First off, the man needs to be ready to go through an obstacle course with his wife on his back. How you carry her is up to you, but typically the women wrap their arms around the waste of their partner, throw their legs over his shoulders, and hang upside down. Nose to ass, mons to neck, go figure. But, the heavier the woman, the bigger the prize, and that all hinders on the man’s strength.
Now my issue with this whole thing comes down to the beer. First, who decides the brand of beer? That is going to be a big factor in me competing or not. Second, a woman’s weight in beer sounds like a nightmare. How is this weight to beer working? I want the actual weight in beer, not beer plus packaging. The scales need to be zeroed out with only the packaging, and then we can proceed with the beer. It would be really easy to rip people off by going with the heaviest packaging so they get the least amount of beer at the cheapest price.
You square all that out for me, and I’m in this shindig like a rodeo clown in bullshit. I think this would also be worth checking out as a spectator. It sounds like a good time with beer, food, and crazy people. I believe Maine holds the contest annually if you find yourself interested.