Hops To It

Last week, Julia Galvin travelled from Ireland to Finland to find a "husband" to carry her over a 253-meter track to win her weight (120 kg or 264 pounds) in beer. The contest Galvin competed in was an international affair held on July 4 said to stem from a 19th century legend in which a notorious thief, Ronkainen the Robber, made wannabe members of his posse carry grain or swine along a course. (So women are the natural replacement for pigs and grain?) Others claim that the contest stems from the "tribal practice of wife-stealing" (hence the need for fake husband and wife teams). Of course "wife stealing" was actually a tactic of war practiced all over Europe, but making it sound like an exotic "tribal practice" certainly does put a quaint spin on things! [Reuters]