Tree hugging contest Finland

[2021-08-29] A quirky Finnish custom caught the fancy of international media this week as the annual tree hugging world championships were held in the HaliPuu forest in Levi, Lapland last weekend.

Boomknuffelwedstrijd Finland

Photo credit: HaliPuu

The championship, which only began last year, includes three categories of tree hugging: speed hugging, dedication and freestyle hugging. This year’s event included contestants (all residents of the nearby town of Levi) representing Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Australia, Scotland, Hungary and Spain.

Owing to travel restrictions, attendance was by invitation only; however, the organisers have encouraged anyone interested to participate in the online TreeHugging World Championships 2021. Contestants can submit a picture of themselves hugging their favourite tree by 28 August.

Tree hugging championship takes root in Finland

The second annual tree hugging world championship took place in the HaliPuu forest in Levi, Lapland this year. Reigning champion Stefania from Italy was declared the overall best tree hugger for the second time in a row.

Representatives from Australia and Hungary won the dedication round by effectively demonstrating their passion for tree hugging, while Scotland scored the highest in the freestyle category. Anya from Switzerland won the speed category after hugging nearly 11 trees in one minute.

The virtual competition, which is open to people around the world, will end on 28 August. The prize includes a train trip for two from Helsinki to Lapland and a week’s stay at a hotel in Levi.

Original story was published by the Barents Observer and Femina and can be found here and here.