How to Win Your Wife’s Weight in Beer

Every year, the small Finnish town of Sonkajärvi hosts the Wife Carrying World Championships. All men have to do is sprint around an obstacle course while carrying their wives. And the women? They have to hold on tight — which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

It sounds like it could be some primitive Scandinavian skill, dating to when skin-wearing Nordic tribes had to haul their women from burning huts before an onslaught of marauding Vikings (more…) or maybe Huns from the eastern steppes.

As it happens, though, the Wife Carrying World Championships, held every summer in the small Finnish town of Sonkajärvi, isn’t even close to that old. The event, which sets husbands from around the world racing down an obstacle course for the grand prize of the woman’s weight in beer, hasn’t even been around for two decades.

It started as a lark by Sonkajärvi locals in 1992. Four years later it became an “international contest,” and this year 50 couples will compete from 14 countries around the world, including Germany, Sweden, the United States, Australia, China, Kenya and Israel.


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