In hän-carrying, everyone and anyone can be the ‘wife’
Centuries-old tales of Finnish thieves raiding villages and carrying away women on their backs inspired the crazy competition known today as wife-carrying*. Hän-carrying presents a modern twist, to preserve this Finnish folklore while encouraging equality and inclusivity.
Equality forms a core value for Finland and its people; the best symbol of Finnish equality is the third-person singular pronoun: hän. Finland wants to introduce this word, and the thinking behind it, to the rest of the world.
It is she and he all at once, and it has always existed in the Finnish language. Therefore, competing in hän-carrying at this year’s Finnish Crazy Games is simple, you can carry or be carried by everyone and anyone, be it your friend, partner, or even someone you have just met.
Hän promotes equality and inclusivity
Like many languages, Finnish is full of loanwords – words that were, at some point, borrowed from other languages and incorporated into Finnish. The pronoun hän is neutral in terms of gender and social status, so it represents equal opportunity.
The hän campaign is encouraging international discussion about equality and inclusivity, and supporting everyone who is working to promote these values.
*Wife carrying is a contest in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The sport was first introduced at Sonkajärvi, Finland.