A Celebration of Cheese and Autumn
Uh, why are those people running and tripping over each other while chasing what appears to be a big wheel of cheese and how do the Vakner have healthy men left after they keep tumbling down hillsides every year?The Vítnifi festival is an annual event celebrated by the Vakner that marks the beginning of autumn. The festival takes place during the autumnal equinox, and the activities typically begin at around noon and last until sunset. Vítnifi is commonly known across all of Pekkola as an event that involves incredibly rancid cheese and plenty of alcohol.
The Cheese ChaseOne of the strangest aspects of the Vítnifi festival is probably the way that the whole event starts. Communities gather on and around a hillslope, and the local cheese producers present them their largest wheels. The village elder or a representative from the town's government will then measure all wheels of cheese to determine which is the biggest.
The chosen wheel will be selected for the cheese chase, and its creator will be named the winner of the annual wheel contest. After everyone has finished congratulating the winner, participants of the chase will go atop the hill and commence their warm-up routines. Once everyone is ready, the victorious wheel shall be tossed off the side of the hill, and the participants will rush after it. Whoever catches the cheese wins the challenge.
Evening ActivitiesOnce the wheels have been caught, injuries treated, and all of the mud washed from the participants' faces, the evening feast will begin. People can choose to dine alone, in the company of family and friends, or together with the whole village or neighbourhood.
Cheese ConsumptionDuring the evening celebrations, participants of the festival will get to eat all of the cheese wheels that were presented to them at the morning contest. Whoever caught the largest wheel has the right to keep it for themselves, but generally, it's expected of them to share the meal with their family, friends, and the cheesemaker.
Beer and HangoversBeer is a common drink for the Vakner, and it is consumed in abundance during the Vítnifi. Brewers often use the event as an opportunity to advertise their work and sell their goods. Many consider the day after the festival a holiday as barely any work ever gets done then.
by Jez Timms
Health and Safety ConcernsThere are some who've questioned the safety of the Vítnifi festival, especially the cheese chase, but also the rampant consumption of alcohol. Such folk believe that the chase is extremely likely to break a participant's bones, give them a concussion, or to break their neck. Most Vakner have dismissed these claims, and they continue to practise their traditions. Their general attitude seems to be that whatever doesn't kill you makes you into a more durable and alcohol resistant man or woman, capable of running after even larger wheels of cheese.
Ethnicity | Dec 1, 2020
The Vakner are a sturdy people who have mastered shipbuilding and seafaring. They live in the cold heights of Henvikendal and Rothnia