In an age of polarized debate over family values, when love can seem impossible to find and even harder to keep, one small Finnish town has come up with a contest that could be just be the trick to bearing the weight of the old ball and chain. Literally.
In 1992, the citizens of Sonkajärvi , Finland brought back the centuries old tradition of proving strength by stealing wives from nearby towns and carrying them back. Of course, contestants are now asked not to steal other people's wives but, in keeping with the original spirit, they don't ask for documentation. The organizers make up for this oversight by getting very specific about most everything else:
--The length of the official track is 277 yards, and the surface varies from sand, to grass and gravel.
--There is a 15 second penalty for dropping your wife.
--The wife to be carried may be your own, a neighbour's or you may have found her on the flight to Finland. She must however be over 17 years old.
--The minimum weight of the wife must be 108 pounds. If she is less than that, the organziers will strap something – beer, a candelabra, or other medieval loot – to her back.