Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rosvopaisti at the Suomi Talo, Lake Worth, Florida

Here are three pictures of the roasting of the Lamb during the Rosvopaisti at the Suomi Talo (Finland House) in Lake Worth, Florida. Rosvopaisti is an annual celebration honoring the veterans if the Winter War of 1939-40 against the Soviet Union.

We met the man in the fireman's outfit at our apartment. He was flown here from Helsinki for a week to do the actual roasting. They expected hundreds of Finns to show up for the lamb dinner. Betty and I heard the term 5 o'clock so promptly at five we showed up ready for dinner only to discover that they started the roasting at 5:00 a.m. and that dinner was served at noon.

The roasting consists of digging a deep hole and lining it with rocks. Coals are then piled on the rocks and fired. When the coals are fiully consumed, the rocks are covered with more dirt and a layer of steel mesh on which the lamb (wrapped in foil) are placed. Mor cover of dirt are laid on the lanb and a huge pile of charcoal is put on top of that and lit. When that pile is consumed, the whole thing is uncovered and the lamb is ready to be served. The gentleman who is the expert also prepares the Rosvopaisti in Finland at which they serve upward of a thousand people. He told me that the whole thing gets very hot and requires a good fireman's outfit including a mask and breather.

These pictures are from the celebration in 2006. If you are interested in the Winter War, check out the five-part serise on Youtube. Just type in "www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G59ilVg6ZE&mode=related&search="


Ben Kilpela said...

Great shots of the operation, Cap. I didn't realize this was part of the Winter War commemoration. I've seen a couple parts of the five-part documentary on the Winter War (been too busy to finish it off) and recommend it. It was a succinct and entertaining summary of the conflict. I learned some new things from it. I'm a little sheepish about military celebrations, but perhaps that's because someone else has always fought for my country and I have reaped the benefits of their soldiering. Anyone there give a presentation on the war, or something like that?

Capt. Donald Kilpela Sr. said...

Ben: veterans of the Winter War stage a variety of presentations to keep their feat in the public eye. For example, at the annual Finland Days Fair in Lake Worth, the veterans (in uniform, of course, and getting quite aged) always sell a pea soup which is very popular. Apparently it was their staple during the war. Another example was the other day at the Finnish Center annual pancake breakfast and flea market where they had a booth featuring military memorabilia. Naturally I bought several items including a soldier's cap. There are about 17,000 Finns around here so we are steeped in Finnish lore. In fact, we started going to the Finnish Lutheran Church, St. Andrew's, where they still offer a Finnish sermon and coffee and coffee bread afterwards. Of course this treat is followed by an Englind service. It's a ELCA- affiliated church with a service similar to Episcopalian.