May Day Livened Up by Tournament

[MON MAY 1 2017; A4; ’Turnajaisista vauhtia vappuun’, Saila Karpiola]


Interest towards the tournaments has not died down. On May Day Eve, a large audience gathered at the castle. PHOTO: Tomi Vesaharju


Rohan Stables launched their own summer tour, and opened the new exhibition at the Häme Castle, with an exciting tournament.


Last year, when Rohan Stables opened the Häme Castle armor exhibition, the Hämeenlinna sky broke into a halestorm.

Jaakko Nuotio wasn’t bothered by the weather, even if the halestorm were to return for this year’s event. The tournament would be held in any case, no matter what the wind was to bring.

– It may be a small problem that the 30 kg armor I’m wearing is made of iron. Maintaining it in heavy rain is time consuming. Worst case scenario, the armor will get rusty, Jaakko Nuotio laughed.


The people of Rohan Stables had arrived in Hämeenlinna on Saturday. The four horses taking part in the tournament had been able to rest in Hauho, while the rest of the crew had went to make preparations for the tournament at the castle.

– We have at least twelve people and four horses every time we go on tour. Commonly, there are more of us. Us knights need help in tournaments, we can’t really do much in full gear and on horseback without help. The horses have it the best. They’re used to traveling and they know what’s coming tomorrow, Nuotio said.

The tournament was to be held on the field right next to the Prison Museum.


Having their headquarters in Kemiö, Rohan Stables have performed frequently in Hämeenlinna. For two years, they have co-operated with the Finnish national Board of Antiquities, but before that had held tournaments at the Häme Medieval Faire.

– We’ve toured Finland for a long time now, and we’ve decided to do fewer shows. We like to start our tours specifically in Hämeenlinna. We will also be at the Turku Medieval Faire, which we’ll also be helping at organizing, revealed Jaakko Nuotio.

In their shows, Rohan Stables also want to celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary.

– We are not getting tired of this, and the audience isn’t either. I’m now 52 years old, and I stay in shape by getting a lot of exercise. Also, the armors are made to certain measurements, so there’s really no room for getting fat, said Jaakko Nuotio.


According to Nuotio, the tournament horses can reach up to 80 km per hour when riders spur their horses towards the opponent. The battles are not child’s play, for the lances alone weigh around eight kilos, and the armors at least four times that.

The battle between the two teams begun on May Day in Hämeenlinna, but the winner of the tour will only be clear at the very end.

– We tour through the summer, and then we take it easier. In winter, we train our horses and our riders according to historical methods. In horse tournaments, riders need to be able to ride in a historically accurate manner, and fight as Finns fought in olden times, Jakko Nuotio pointed out.

According to Nuotio, there are around 20 Europeans who research medieval tournaments. The crew of Rohan also visits museums and does research. Information is exchanged peacefully.

– I’ve noticed many people getting more enthusiastic about medieval times. The audience knows more about it than we did when we first started out.

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