Heikinpaiva: Finnish celebration underway in Hancock

Photos from Heikinpaiva Facebook page Karhunpeijaiset, one of the traditional Finnish dances done on Jan. 26., where dancers begin far apart and draw together as the dance continues.

The 20th anniversary of Heikinpaiva this year is already underway with events at the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC). The classes focus on Finnish culture heritage enrichment, and lead up to the main events on Jan. 26, which will include a parade, tori (market), food, dance, and for the first time in several years, reindeer on the Quincy Green.

“It really brings a lot of people in the community out,” Finnish Theme Committee treasurer Mary Pekkala said.

Events at the FAHC include a Hobby Horse Hoedown with Ginger Alberti at 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, International Folk Dancing at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 15, a Povatica making workshop with Anton & Julie Pintar and a Christmas tree carving class with Pete Olson that each cost $15 per person and happen concurrently at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Jan. 21, Contra Dancing at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 22, and an Accordion Workshop with FinnFolk on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.

On Jan. 14, the heritage center hosts two events, a class on spinning yarn from wool at 2 p.m., and two classes on making Leipajuusto, or squeaky cheese, with Joanna Chopp at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m..

“When you bite into it, it kind of squeaks,” Pekkala said.

Photos from Heikinpaiva Facebook page The polar bear swim was in danger of being cancelled because of the warmer winter weather, but organizers say it looks like the ice will be thick enough to proceed.

On Jan. 23, there’s also a nisu-making workshop at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.. Nisu is a sweet bread with cardamom.

“It’s usually made in a braid,” Pekkala said.

If you prefer watching movies to taking classes, the Calumet Theatre will be hosting dinner and a movie at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18. They will be screening “A Man Called Ove.” The cost is $22 per person or $7 to only view the movie.

On the big day, Jan. 26, events start with the tori at the FAHC and various activities on the Quincy Green at 10 a.m. The Finnish Theme Committee is happy to welcome reindeer back to this year’s activities, as well as a talk from Antti Patsi, a reindeer herder from Finland, at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Matthew.

The parade starts at 11 a.m., and the Polar Bear Dive, where people jump into the channel through a hole carved in the ice, is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Hancock waterfront.

Photos from Heikinpaiva Facebook page St. Urho and Mrs. St. Urho — and a grasshopper — walk in the 2018 Heikinpaiva parade.

A complete schedule and registration information is available at finnishamericanreporter.com/heikin_page/schedule or call 906-482-1413.