In Finland, there is an unusual festival called The World Championships of Berry Picking, where people compete to see how many berries they can pick within a time limit.
The berries to be picked are lingonberries, which are a familiar foodstuff in Nordic countries.
In this article, I would like to introduce The World Championships of Berry Picking.
What are The World Championships of Berry Picking?
The World Championships of Berry Picking is a festival held in Finland in September.
The competition is quite simple. Participants compete to see how many lingonberries, which grow wild in the forest, they can pick within a one-hour time limit.
Since being featured as a project on a Japanese variety TV show in 2012, it has become well-known in Japan.
The World Berry Picking Championships will be held in Suomussalmi, a town about 650 km from Helsinki.
Suomussalmi is a small town with less than 10,000 inhabitants in the northeast of Finland.
The World Championships of Berry Picking will take place in Suomussalmi’s vast and lush natural environment of approximately 150 ha.
It is a remote town near the Russian border, but every year during The World Championships of Berry Picking, it attracts a large number of participants from home and abroad.
The berries that will be collected at The World Championships of Berry Picking are lingonberries.
Lingonberries are characterized by their bright red berries and are in season in Finland from August to October.
You may not see them as often as blueberries. But lingonberries are one of the most common ingredients in Finnish households.https://hokuou-info.com/en/2021/01/18/lingonberry/
They grace our tables in a variety of forms, from jam and sauce to candied and frozen.
In Finland, lingonberry jam is homemade and spread on slices of bread or served with meatballs and other meat dishes.
In the old days, lingonberries were preserved for long periods as candied berries.
And they were a valuable source of vitamins during the winter months when crops could not be grown.
In Finland, the sun does not set all day during the summer, which is known as the midnight sun.
This gives the berries plenty of daylight to grow.
This is why lingonberries are so rich in nutrients that they are called superfoods.
By the way, in the Nordic countries the “freedom to roam” guarantees that everyone has the right to freely enter the forest and pick berries and mushrooms.
For this reason, berry picking in the forests is a natural activity for the inhabitants of Finland.
In the World Berry Picking Championships, the locals who pick berries regularly are often the winners.https://hokuou-info.com/en/2021/04/30/right-to-enjoy-nature/
The World Championships of Berry Picking are free of charge and open to everyone.
The majority of participants are residents, but there are also many participants from other countries.
The location of the forest where the games will be held is not open to the public until the day of the event.
This is to prevent cheating, such as preliminary checks of the location and preparation of berries in advance.
The World Championships of Berry Picking consists of two parts: an individual competition and a team competition for teams of three.
In addition, the team competition is divided by gender to take into account differences in physical fitness.
The equipment that can be brought into the forest is a bucket of berries, a backpack, and tools for berry picking.
When collecting berries, the use of prescribed tools is permitted.
Simple tools such as shovels are allowed.
However, the use of full-scale mechanical collection equipment is prohibited.
To place high in the competition, contestants must have the physical strength to drive through vast forests and the technique to pick berries.
On the other hand, the choice of tools is also a major factor in determining the winner.
Since ancient times, people living in Finland have enjoyed going into the forest and eating berries.
Even today, “Freedom to roam” allows anyone to pick berries such as lingonberries and blueberries.
The World Championships of Berry Picking is a festival that symbolizes Finland’s berry-picking culture.