May 26 • 11:59 AM

Let's find another home for Heikki Lunta

February 13, 2008
I have a serious question for all you parents out there. There may be a conspiracy—a plot of major proportions going on right underneath our noses—and I feel I should clue you in.

Have you noticed that spoons are missing from your silverware drawer?

Does Junior come downstairs to say goodnight with his pajamas on backwards and/or inside out?

Are you constantly refilling your ice cube tray, but can't remember the last time you used any cubes in your drink?

Does it seem like you're constantly hearing your toilet flush for no apparent reason?

If so, trust me you are not going crazy—except maybe a little because of all these snow days. In fact, that's the point. I am here to disclose that this seemingly endless succession of snow days and school cancellations may be linked to your silverware drawer, junior's pajamas and the perpetually empty ice cube tray, not to mention the flushing toilet.

These are rituals, so to speak, to conjure up snow days.

The superstitions may be somewhat new to these parts, but obviously they've been secretly practiced and we just don't know it. Think Thursday morning. What more proof do you need?

Through some careful research and in-depth discovery, I've learned that snow day superstitions do indeed exist. Children practice them with wild abandon.

Here's how it goes:

When kids are ready for some time out of the classroom, they go to sleep with a couple of spoons under their pillows. Mom may not notice this until it's time for the breakfast cereal the next morning, but by then as we all know, it's too late.

The spoon sleeping is bolstered by a little trick with the old p-jays. What mom might think is a cute little sleepy time mistake is really a major plot to create a snow day. When Junior presents himself for the good night kiss in pajamas that are inside out or backwards, he's not too tired to notice the difference. He is, again, conspiring for some time off school the next day.

And those missing ice cubes? Look no farther than your constantly flushing commode. Legend has it that flushing ice cubes down the toilet will assure some time off of school via a snow day.

I don't know about you, but I'm really glad to be clued in on this. Snow days for kids aren't exactly days off for the rest of us so if there's any way we can battle back, I say go for it. Hide the spoons. Refuse to make ice. Buy reversible pajamas.

There is yet another alert, however, that you may not know about. It's known only to the more sophisticated snow day conjurers—or those who live in the U.P.

If you hear or see the name 'Heikki Lunta' scrawled anywhere, beware. I'm certain it's in the notebooks of several snow day practitioners, based on Wednesday's activities.

Heikki Lunta is a sort of Finnish snow god, created out of dire need by snowmobilers and merchants in the UP when the grounds were woefully bare during the winter of 1970-71. No snowmobile races, no tourists, no dollars. Organizers asked a Hancock radio station employee and musician, David Riutta, for some help. He had been working on a new song, and decided to spruce up the lyrics, making it somewhat of a chant for snow. Riutta called it the 'Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song,' and immediately captured the attention of listeners. It also brought about snow. Much snow. Too much snow.

Riutta says he chose the name after his favorite country singer, Hank Snow— 'Heikki Lunta' in Finnish.

Anyhow, it didn't matter what his name was, Hank/Heikki came through in a big way. So much so that when the inches and feet piled up that year, some of the locals wanted Heikki's—and Riutta's—head. On the second release of the very popular 'Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song,' record, the flip side holds the song 'Heikki Lunta, Go Away.' Riutta determined that it would be best to write the follow up song as a way to apologize for the incredible flurry of endless snow Heikki unleashed upon the land.

According to published reports, both songs are still played today up north—and the Snow Dance song is credited with making it snow in Atlanta, San Francisco and places like that. Oh boy...

...I hope I didn't inadvertently conjure up another snow day just now.

Email Catherine at

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