Celebrating Winter at Heikinpaiva | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Celebrating Winter at Heikinpaiva

In front of the Finnish-American Heritage Center with the Heikinpäivä mitten guy.  Apparently, Chloe has a secret ninja identity.  Either that, or she's really cold.
Yeah, I know.

Who celebrates winter?

Well, apparently the Finns do. I suppose they have to. And since my area has an abundance of Finnish flavor, and also an abundance of winter, I suppose we have to as well. So, at the end of January we have this festival called Heikinpäivä. And, to be honest, I have no idea what that word actually means. If you want to know, you'll have to go ask a Finn. Or someone who speaks Finnish. The best I can do is pronounce it.

This year's Heikinpäivä was truly a celebration of winter, complete with a raging snowstorm. Normally, I wouldn't have bothered to venture out in it, but Bria had to play her violin at the festival, so venture out we did. (Without Joel...he was in Chicago attending a conference.)

First, we watched Bria play Finnish folk tunes with her youth orchestra. It was crowded in there (probably because it was actually warm), so I didn't really get any good shots.
Heikinpaiva Violin
After Bria finished up her playing, we went over to watch our friends do some Finnish folk dancing, and then we headed out into the (freaking) blizzard to play with the kicksleds, which are kind of the snowy version of a scooter. You get it going by kicking with your foot, and then you hop on and coast.
Sophia was particularly excited about these, but she had a difficult time getting the hang of it at first, so Chloe diligently helped push her along.
After a while, she really got into the groove and was coasting all over the place.
Violinist in the Snow
Bria was laden down with her violin and her music folder, so she mostly walked around watching, but I finally took them from her and told her to go have fun. Unfortunately, while the violin was on my own back, I slipped on the ice and totally biffed it. Such a klutz. (No worries, the violin didn't even go out of tune.)
KicksleddingWorld's Largest Kicksled
Our festival also has the world's largest kicksled. And, oh boy, is that thing LARGE. I don't know how you're supposed to use it correctly...but some guys were pushing kids around on it. (My kids didn't participate.)
We also saw some reindeer. Sophia wanted to see them fly, but they weren't feeling up to it I guess.
Vipukelkka (whipsled)28/366
After they kicksledded to their hearts' delight, they tried out the vipukelkka, or whipsled. I have to admit, this one looked like lots of fun! First Bria and Chloe pushed Sophia around the circle,
then Bria and Sophia tried to push Chloe, but they had a hard time getting it started.
No worries, though. A nice man saw their plight and came to help. Just in the nick of time, too, because Sophia couldn't keep up and fell.

Did I mention it was snowing like crazy?

And don't I have gorgeous offspring?
Double BriaDouble ChloeDouble Sophia
They're gorgeous even when they are frozen popsicles.

And here we all are (including Chloe looking like the kid from Fat Albert...you know which one I mean) sitting on the kicksleds. Proof that I was there, too.
Oh! She has a face after all!
Snowy family
Unfortunately, we were too cold to stick around for the polar bear dive, in which certifiably insane people jump into the frozen lake in their bikinis and swim trunks. An important part of celebrating winter I suppose. Hopefully next year we'll actually get to see it.

However, since it took a good eight hours for me to actually have feeling in my face again after the half-hour we spent on the sleds, you're not ever going to see me participate. I like to feel my extremities, thankyouverymuch. Besides, I definitely don't have enough sisu for that.

And speaking of winter celebrations, Winter Carnival started today. There are some great statues out there, and I can't wait to get some good pictures.

Stay tuned...


  1. Ok, I have to say that looks awful, but I AM glad you had fun. :)

  2. Ooh-I remember your winter carnival from last year. Can't wait to see more picture of that.

    The festival look fun---minus the cold. I love the Scandinavian cultures and languages.

  3. What a fantastic event! And you are not kidding it really was a blizzard!
    This is the kind of thing I totally love to go to. I adore every picture but the reindeer...OH MY I love the reindeer!!

    And yes, you have beautiful children and snowy children!

  4. I literally shivered looking at the pictures. I am such a wimp, I would have never lasted.

    And yes, your offspring are gorgeous

  5. I need to drink some hot chocolate after reading this. Scandinavians do love their winter, though!

  6. Heikinpäivä means Heikki's Day. I suppose it is celebrated on Heikki's name day, almost as big a celebration as birthdays here in Finland.

    Love your pix!

  7. Beautiful! Love winter pics like these!

  8. That is gorgeous! Sort of makes me miss the snow this year (weirdest winter ever-mid 50's most of the week). Sort of...

  9. Hmm...Vipukelkka...isn't that the name of Pippi Longstocking's house?

  10. I love the pictures you took and appreciate the sacrifice behind them :) I have a much harder time shooting many pictures when my fingers are blue and I'm shivering. One of my favorites is the closeup of Sophia on the sled that swings in circles ...