Finland - Sonkajärvi
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Sonkajärvi is a municipality of Finland.
It is located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the Northern Savonia region. The municipality has a population of 4,596 (31 January 2014) and covers an area of 1,576.77 square kilometres (608.79 sq mi) of which 110.86 km2 (42.80 sq mi) is water. The population density is 3.14 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.1 /sq mi).
The municipality is unilingually Finnish.
Wife carrying competition
Sonkajärvi has gained a worldwide fame for Wife Carrying (Finnish: akankanto or eukonkanto) which is an alternative sport of carrying women. The first Wife Carrying World Championship dates to 1994, but the creation of the contest, apart from its humorous aspects, has deep roots in the local history. In the late 19th century there was in the area a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen, who is said to have accepted in his troops only those men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, it was also a common practice to steal women from the neighbouring villages.
In the Wife Carrying competition each team has one male and one female member, the objective being for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track. The basic rules are that the woman must be over 17 years of age and have a weight of at least 49 kilograms (108 lb). If she is below that weight, she must be burdened with such a heavy rucksack so that the total weight to be carried by the man is at least 49 kilograms. The only equipment allowed is a belt worn by the carrier. The track in Sonkanjärvi used annually for the World Championship has a length of exactly 253.5 metres (832 ft).
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