Those crazy Finns in Finland!
By Emma Bodansky
Throughout the summer Finland plays host to a range of weird and wonderful festivals. From rock to classical, puppet theatre to contemporary dance there is something for everyone.
Then there are the festivals that are a little more unusual and allow visitors a unique insight into the more ‘out there’ aspects of Finnish culture. Either way these are great events to get involved in or simply watch!
Naked Run of Finland, 17 June, Padasjoki, North of Helsinki.
Competitors of this annual competition can run up to 10km and must wear nothing more than shoes, socks and something on their head! Anyone who sticks to the strict dress code (or lack of) can enter! www.nakukymppi.net
Wife Carrying World Championships 1-2 July Sonkajärvi, Northern Savonia.
The aim of this competition is for men to win a relay race with their wives on their shoulders. The winner gets the weight of their wife in beer! www.eukonkanto.fi/en
Hay-mowing World Championships, 2 July, Liminka, in the province of Oulu.
The hay mowing championships honours the traditional craft and the winner is the man and woman who score the highest in the sharpening of the scythe, clean cutting quality, the form of the harrow, mowing time and mowing style. A more unusual way for visitors to catch a glimpse of Finnish tradition! www.viikateniitonmm.fi/index.php?s=inenglish
Air Guitar World Championships 24-27 August, in the province of Oulu.
What began as a joke in 1996 has become a fun (if not slightly absurd) annual championships, with competitors taking to the stage to show off their best air guitar skills. For the chance to be in the championships competitors have to get through the initial qualifying round in Oulu. The jury looks for charisma, originality and of course skill. This free festival should not be missed. www.airguitarworldchampionships.com
Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, August, Juva, Eastern Finland.
For anyone who has ever had the urge to throw their mobile phone away after an unpleasant call, this is the festival to attend. The championships began in Finland, birthplace of mobile giant Nokia in 2000, and has since spread all over Europe. Phones are provided and each contestant can choose the phone they feel suits them best. The unusual and hilarious event attracts hundreds of participants eager to test their phone throwing skills. www.savonlinnafestivals.com/Nettisivut_index_en.html
Further information on Finnish Festivals or Finland generally can be found at www.visitfinland.com/uk