Crazy Finns – Soon in Canberra

Photo credits: Air Guitar World Championships Final 2015 Juuso Haarala, Wife Carrying World Championships 2015 Pekka Honkakoski, other photos sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

Stereotypes of nationalities are rife in Europe; they are a great amusement, especially with a pint or two. In these stereotypes, Finns are seen somewhat like weirdos: crazy silent people living up north in the forests, hunting for their food, and partying in a 100-degree-celsius sauna.

Of course that's a very old stereotype. Modern day Finns are just weird silent people partying in a 90-degree-celsius sauna, and buying their natural healthy diet in supermarkets. Except in summers, when they fish from the 188 500 lakes in Finland and hunt in the forest. (Or at least, quite a number of them still do.)

The craziness of the Finns and Finland is most obvious during our midnight sun summer. Finland hosts the absolute weirdest world championships imaginable. In this way we are like the Aussies: what fun is there in doing something weird/annoying/useless, if you cannot win? So far, we have just failed to professionalise swamp football to the level of Aussie-rules version.

Wife-carrying, air guitar, mobile phone throwing, sitting in an ants' nest, sauna (although the sauna world championships had to be stopped, as people became a little too competitive), chisel tip crowbar Nordic walking (also known as rautakanki), and mosquito killing are some well-known examples of peculiar Finnish sports which have led to world championships held in Finland.

At the Embassy we thought that Aussies would enjoy this craziness too. That's why we will celebrate Finland's 100 years as an independent country with the Finnish Crazy Games in Canberra. And knowing the competitive nature of people Down Under, we'll never know if the next World Champion of wife-carrying, air guitar, N–oar–dic walking (we thought the crowbars might be a little excessive at a family event), or hobbyhorse riding (yes, that's really big in Finland right now) will come from Australia.

Come and join us at the Embassy grounds on September 23rd – 24th and experience how fun it is to be a crazy Finn. We have silently enjoyed ourselves over centuries and for a century as an independent nation. And of course there will be hot Finnish sauna, but no sauna competitions, please – it really is hot in there.

By the way, did you notice that we just took the skinny dipping world record from Australia?

Finnish Crazy Games website and registration:

Author information: Antti Niemelä is a diplomat at the Embassy of Finland, an observer of the topsy-turvy world, and a globalisation and democracy idealist. Opinions expressed are the author's own and do not reflect those of the Embassy of Finland in Canberra.


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