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Finnish Culture 101: Traditional Wife Carrying

It may seem like a joke, but wife carrying competition is a serious tradition in Finland. The practice comes from an early tribal practice of wife stealing. Sacks of rye have been swapped with wives, as the relay race is modeled after the work of 1800's bandit leader Ronkainen, who screened wannabe robbers by testing how they faired racing with sacks.

The tradition has gone global. Couples from 14 countries, including the US, Britain, China, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, and Kenya, competed in this weekend's Wife Carrying World Championships. A husband from Estonia won the big prize — his wife's weight in beer!

To see video of the competition,



Join The Conversation
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Really? In the US? What are our clogged arteries thinking?
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Hehe, Hypno. Also, a typo in my comment - this was supposed to be thing. :OY:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well unless he has a taste for Rye bread tresjolie you should be safe.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
No one tell my boyfriend about this! Next this you know we are off to Helsinki!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
:rotfl: rac thats funny. I dont like to be picked up at all.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I would be SO afraid of being dropped.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I've heard of wife swapping, but wife stealing is a new one. I don't know of any married man who would be willing to steal another. One is almost too many.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
rac you're so funny! :)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I miss staring at pics of your wife hypno! ;)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
"Sacks of rye have been swapped with wives" I don't know what to say about this. I don't think I could finish the race, my wife is too heavy.
em1282 em1282 9 years
"My mother was once traded for two cows, but I come from the NY suburbs and our ways are very different from those of city folk." Hee, rac! Huh, so this is unusual for y'all? Your husbands didn't carry you over the threshholds like this on your wedding nights? ;) Hmmmm...then again maybe that position's useful for other parts of the wedding night...but what do I know :smurf:
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Good point citizen! how the heck is she breathing?? do you lose points if your wife isn't alive still when you cross the finish line?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
My mother was once traded for two cows, but I come from the NY suburbs and our ways are very different from those of city folk.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i also don't think I would mind if that guy in the lead picked me up and carried me off. as long as we didn't have to go far. :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
that's kind of funny. :) i wonder how modern day wife carrying compares to the wife stealing of old? people are bigger now, and heavier. of course that means the men are bigger and heavier too.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
The upside-down underwater gal is worrying me...
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Oh my God I would PUKE if someone carried me like that!:sick:
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