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June Pelo
05-02-12, 18:27
The Laskiainen Finnish sliding festival is still going strong 75 years after it began. People like the squeaky cheese and pea soup, kropsua is served for breakfast. It is an oven-baked pancake-like treat slathered with melted butter. There will be moijakka, big steaming bowls of potatoes, carrots and beef, with homemade bread. On Sunday they will serve pea soup - hernesupp - served with bread.

A variety of programs are offered: people reading Finnish poems and singing Finnish songs and telling jokes with Finnish accents; the museum at Loon Lake is a favorite; skilled demonstrators, crafts, sports, music, foods and, of course, sliding down the iced hill.

Laskiainen translated means - sliding down hill. It dates back to pre-Christian times when it was considered a flax festival. The purpose of coasting downhill on Shrove Tuesday was to help the crops, and the farther a person could slide, the taller the flax would grow.

The festival is held every February in Palo, Minnesota, a custom brought to the Iron Range area by Finnish settlers in the early 1900s.