Hey, guess what? Christmas is only 21 days away! Here at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives we have not only a countdown going, we’ve also been getting into the holiday spirit by doing a little Christmas related research.
For those of you who aren’t native Yoopers, you may not be familiar with the myth that the Upper Peninsula’s has its very own snow god: Heikki Lunta. The Finnish legend claims that the U.P. was once warm and covered in palm trees. Heikki Lunta, a crazy man who resides deep in the woods, didn’t like that so many people were flocking to the area due to its warm weather, so he did a magical dance to make it snow. Problem is, he never stopped.
No one is entirely sure how the legend got started, but Heikki Lunta is as real as the snow itself to many U.P. residents. In a 1993 Mining Journal Article, Houghton resident Jon Davis recalled an incident during the winter of 1978-79.
“There was a big snowmobile race scheduled for early December and for once, we didn’t have any snow. WMPL radio got some guy to make a record called ‘Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song,’ and within a day or two of when the race was supposed to occur they started playing it on the air and we just got buried.”
That winter convinced many people about the reality of the U.P. Snow God, as a record 399 inches of snowfall was recorded.
Heikki Lunta is a huge part of the Upper Peninsula culture. We love the winter, we love the snow, and we love our snow god. For more tales about Heikki Lunta, come visit the Archives in room 126 of the LRC!
Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst.
This is the last week of classes here at Northern Michigan University. Due to the hectic nature of finals next week and the spirit of vacation which will be haunting we students for the following four weeks, this will be the last blog post from the NMU Archives until January 15th. Happy Holidays!