Do you know that there is a Wife Carrying Championship held in Finland?
Wife carrying is a sport where a female participant is carried by her male teammate. The pair will have to go through a special obstacle course, all the time trying to achieve the goal of getting the fastest time among all the competitors. The Wife Carrying Championship was introduced to the world in the municipality of Sonkajarvi, where it has been regularly held in recent years.
There are many theories as to how the Wife Carrying Championship originated in Finland, where it became a popular tradition passed from generation to generation. The first is about a man named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. He is believed to have been a robber during the late 1800s, running around with his group of thieves and causing havoc to villages. It is believed that he and his gang stole food and women from villages. It is said that they carried their spoils on their backs as they escaped; thus, the “wife” or women carrying. Another story posits that Rosvo-Ronkainen trained his group to be “faster and stronger” by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs that eventually evolved to be a sport involving hard labor that improves endurance and muscle strength. Lastly, legend has it that the tradition came from an old practice in which young men go to places near their village to steal other men’s wives for themselves. Again, the women were supposedly rumored carried on the men’s backs, in what is called “the practice of wife stealing.”
Although the three stories were regarded as myths or old wives’ tales, the Wife Carrying Championship itself is taken very seriously among competitors. The sport has grown so popular that even as Finland is believed to be its place of its origin, competitions are now also held in the United States, Hong Kong, and other parts of the world. It also gained its own category in the Guinness Book of Records. There are also a number of variations of wife carrying are: piggyback; fireman’s carry, or over the shoulder; and Estonian-style, where the wife hangs upside-down as her legs was carried on the husband’s shoulders, while she is holding on to his waist.
The Wife Carrying Championship held in Finland’s Sonkajarvi is one of the most popular among all the competitions of this sport. The winners in this competition will receive the wife’s weight in beer.