Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



The Estonian Carry, courtesy of

If you are wondering what Wife Carrying entails, the name pretty much speaks for itself. A sport where the phrase “All participants must have fun,” is in the rules, this Finlandian sport began as a joke in the 1800’s. It started as a sport where the men of a village ran into town, picked up their wives and carried them off. Today it has evolved into a sport complete with championships and rule books and competitive courses.

The men involved with this sport are allowed to carry their wife, or their neighbor’s wife, as long as the woman is at least 17, and must weigh at least 49 kg, or else they are burdened with a bag full of extra weight. There is no set way to carry the wife, however teams are encouraged to devise their own style of carrying. The only equipment required is a belt work by the carrier, and a helmet worn by the carried, and the track has obstacles including two dry obstacles and one water obstacle, of which the water must be approximately one meter deep. The winner of the competition receives his wife’s weight in beer. Check out Wikipedia for more rules on Wife Carrying.

Finland isn’t the only country that participates in Wife Carrying. The North American Wife Carrying Championship takes place on Columbus Day every year in Newry, ME at the Sunday River Ski Resort. The winners of this event often continue on to the World Championship in Finland. Be sure to check out even more random sports by coming to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete World of Sports (abridged) at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, running September 9th – October 3rd.

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