The roots of this event go back to the early 19th century. At this time, the area was under the influence of a local brigand named Rosvo-Ronkainen, who would only take men into his gang who proved their worth in a contest. After much deliberation he borrowed a local habit of stealing women from neighbouring villages and a tradition was born.
Interested in the rules of this weird sport? Here are a few:
- The length of the official track is 253.5 meters, and the surface of the track is partially sand, partially grass, and partially gravel.
- The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbour’s, or you may have found her farther afield; she must, however, be over 17 years of age.
- Also, the most entertaining couple, the best costume, and the strongest carrier will be awarded special prizes.
- All the participants must have fun.
There is also a team wife carrying competition where three men exchange the wife throughout the race. But here’s an interesting twist: “At the exchange point the carrier has to drink the official “wife carrying drink” before continuing the race.”
It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned Finland’s strange pastimes. Head over to Finland: What’s Up With Your Public Events? to get a peek at swamp soccer, air guitar, mobile phone throwing, and winter swimming events.
Will you be attending the event? If so, I would love to hear from you. Be our eyes and ears on the ground and hit me up at carlo[at]matadornetwork[dot]com with your stories.