We all know St Patricks Day, wearing green, drinking green beer, eating corned beef and cabbage, but in Minnesota we have St Urho Days. (note the handsome dude in picture).
St Urho Days is celebrated by wearing green and purple, participating in cribbage, bingo or cow pie contests, having snowmobile competitions and basketball games is common and local music and activities abound all day and into the night!
Here is how the legion of St Urho got started. In the spring of 1958, a Finnish American named Richard Mattson from Virginia, MN was asked by his Irish friend, Gene McCavic why there were no Saints in Finland like the Irish St Patrick.
History was made that day as the two collaborated to write the "Ode to St Urho". The story goes like this St. Urho chased "those Rogs" (those frogs) out of Finland by the power of his loud voice, which he obtained by drinking "feelia sour" (sour whole milk) and eating "kala mojakka" (fish soup).
Sounds like a bad Garrison Keeler script right? It gets crazier. The legends newest iteration is that St.Urho actually drove away grasshoppers not frogs from Finland by using the incantation "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!" ("Grasshopper, grasshopper, go from hence to Hell!"), thus saving the Finnish grape crops. For those who invented this tale its not surprising that saving the wine crop is very important to these folks.
St Urho is now celebrated in Minnesota, Canada and Finland. There are bars and restaurants that carry his name and these traditions onward.
Many of the celebrations were the day before and and the day after St Paddy's However you are in luck (the luck of the Finnish) Another St Urho Celebration this weekend!
Don't you just love the Irish and the Finnish? They use any excuse to have a good time and and in the case of the Finnsh if they don't have a reason to celebrate- they will make one up! What a great way to celebrate your ancestry! You gotta love Minnesota.
Quote from a St Urho participant:
During St Urho Days those grasshoppers are Finn-ished!