This Finnish sliding festival has been going on in MN for 80 years - Bring Me The News

This Finnish sliding festival has been going on in MN for 80 years

Laskiainen is this weekend.
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One of the longest-running cultural festivals in the United States is this weekend in Minnesota, and it involves a toboggan and a very icy hill.

It's called Laskiainen – which means a mid-winter Finnish sliding festival – and it's traditionally celebrated at the beginning of the 40-day pre-Easter fast and to celebrate the end of the dark winter, according to reports.

The Finns first began celebrating Laskiainen on the shore of Loon Lake in rural Aurora, Minnesota, back in 1937, and 80 years later it's still quite a popular winter festival that features traditional Finnish foods like split-pea soup, baked goods and games, the Mesabi Daily News reported.

And of course, the sliding.

Crews start preparing the icy hill in mid-January by taking a tub (like this one), adding water and snow, and stirring until it gets slushy. Then they pack the slush onto the hill, and repeat, the Duluth News Tribune explains.

Then during the festival, those who dare will grab a toboggan-style plastic or wood sled (they work the best, according to the Mesabi Daily News), and fly down the hill. The legend goes the person who slides the farthest will have the best flax harvest that year, Minnesota Brown says.

Although no one really harvests flax anymore, the festival has endured. Mainly because people are excited to get outside.

"It's February, and people have been in their houses, all cramped up," Jimmy Jones, the caretaker at the Loon Lake Community Center, told the Duluth News Tribune. "This is something fun to do outside."

For more on Laskiainen, check out the video below.

For more information on this weekend's events, click here.

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