March 16

Saint of the day:

Saint Urho

~Just for fun~

Patron Saint of Finland....made up by Minnesotans!

Saint Urho’s Story

The legend of Saint Urho was hatched up by Finnish-American Richard Mattson, who worked at Ketola’s Department Store in Virginia, Minnesota in spring of 1956.

Mattson later admitted to inventing St. Urho when a coworker Gene McCavic pointed out the Finns’ lack of a saint like the Irish St. Patrick.

In fact, the patron saint of Finland is Henry (Bishop of Finland).

The story is that St. Urho “tose ‘Rogs” (those frogs) out of Finland using only his voice, which he fortified by drinking “feelia sour” (sour whole milk) and eating kala mojakka (fish soup).

The legend later evolved to grasshoppers instead of frogs.  He drove them away using the incantation “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!” (“Grasshopper, grasshopper, go from hence to Hell!”), thus saving the Finnish grape crops.

In fact, there’s no Finnish wine industry to speak of.

Or St. Urho was created by a high school teacher to have a day to celebrate.

The legend of Saint Urho was hatched up by Finnish-American Richard Mattson, who worked at Ketola’s Department Store in Virginia, Minnesota in spring of 1956.

Mattson later admitted to inventing St. Urho when a coworker Gene McCavic pointed out the Finns’ lack of a saint like the Irish St. Patrick.

Making St. Urho the patron saint of the Finnish is particularly weird because 82.5% of the Finnish population is Lutheran.  Lutheranism doesn’t even recognize Feasts of Saints.

The selection of the name Urho as the saint’s name was probably influenced Urho Kekkonen, President of Finland in the 1950’s.

Urho in Finnish can mean hero or simply brave. There were several Finnish names suggested, but Saint Ero or Saint Jussi, or even Toivo or Eino, just didn’t have the correct ring of a saintly name.

There are St. Urho fan clubs in Canada and Finland as well as the U.S., and the festival is celebrated on March 16 in many American and Canadian communities with Finnish roots.

 

Celebrations often include locals dressed as grapes and grasshoppers wearing purple and green reenacting their hero’s triumph over the grasshoppers.

Menahgha Minnesota has a grape-distribution parade (whilst pursued by strangely zombie-like grasshoppers chanting “Graaaaaaaapes……”), bar-stool races, and frozen lake golf.

Ironically,  St. Urho is almost unknown in Finland.

https://www.interesly.com/march-15-st-urho/

 

 

Landmarks

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Visit:

Minnesota!

12-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture of fictional character St. Urho, located in Menahga, Minnesota.

St. Urho is carrying a pitchfork with a skewered grasshopper.