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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, read more.

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