And the witches and fires of Ostrobothnia …

We just came back yesterday night from a lovely holiday in the Finnish countryside, even if it was a very tiring one due to the huge number of tasks to be done and all the family activity.

The Finnish countryside, based on my 3 years experience here was the same as it has been! not much change in general.

Finnish Country Side
Finnish Country Side
Finnish Countryside
Finnish Countryside
Sun sets on Vimpeli's lake.
Sun sets on Vimpeli's lake.

We had the Easter holidays and we spent lovely time with Maiku’s family.

My post here mentions the people in that village, I always felt like an alien in there, specially on Saturday night when you head to the bar which feels like from the 1960’s and where all the eyes are scanning a new visitors.

It’s a small village called Vimpeli of around 3000 population and where everybody knows everybody, which means that i am known as the son in law of Maiku’s parents and that am a foreigner. Good so far!

One of the major event that take place in Vimpeli during the Easter holiday is the witch kicking, we don’t kick witches literally, what the people do is to make huge fires in the fields to kick the bad spirits of the witches. And here it was supposed to happen that Saturday of Easter!

Vimpeli's traditional easter fires
Vimpeli's traditional easter fires

I get this call from the family that we are going to watch the KOKKO fire’s and I get myself all ready for the big event that is a part of the local traditions, as soon as we make it to the relatives of my beloved wife’s which had a huge fire, there was the famous Makkara and Olutta ( Beer and Sausages) for the celebration, as is the case of every day of holiday, alcohol is a must use during day’s of rest!

Kick the witch!
Kick the witch!

Now the people that ignited that huge fire were super sweet but they suddenly reminded me of a book by a Finnish author named Arto Paasilinna that i have been reading called (Hurmaava joukoitsemurha) or in French as i read it (Petits suicides entre amis) , the story has nothing to do with the fires of Vimpeli, but the characters of the people were nothing less then the ones in that book. It was hilarious; my description is not accurate though until you read it!

Distant, friendly, drunk but still friendly, interested and curious and most of all trying all the time to show their culture and brag about their adventures in this part of cold north.

A burning Bear!
A burning Bear!

My trip did not end with this experience of course only, i had the chance to join my father in law in the adventure of ice fishing which is our yearly common hobby, where you have to open holes in the ice and fish, but then you might be really lucky if you find any fishes, I wasn’t on that day! But since I mentioned the event, I will explain a bit the concept:

– You have to get your equipment ready and walk to the frozen lake where you start walking on the frozen ice.

– You have to know the right spot which until nowadays i didn’t figure out why my father in law still insist on this spot after 3 years of unsuccessful fishing (it must be a tradition) and then you got to calculate the distance from the grandmother house to the house, some GPS navigator wouldn’t be a bad gift for my father in law I guess! Might save us some time!

– You got to the dig the hole with a tool and open the ice then throw your fishing tool and sit and wait until you either freeze to death or get a fish which wasn’t the case this holiday!

– The last step is when everybody back home is expecting you to come back with a few fishes for dinner and you are empty hand and totally ashamed, then the idea of running to the nearest supermarket and buying a few fishes is not bad!

Me trying to fish! as if ...
Me trying to fish! as if ...

Tools for icefishing
Tools for icefishing

That was mostly the Vimpeli experience, in my next post i will be writing about some of our daily life back here in the cold north.

Sasi from Vimpeli.

P.S : Please do not copy or reproduce these pictures without asking permissions.

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