13 March 2008


Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen
Translation from Finnish: Grasshopper, Grasshopper, go to hell!

Happy St. Urho's Day
March 16

My best friend of many years always celebrates St. Urho's Day. She is half-Finnish and half Norwegian. She would always wear a big button with a grasshopper on it. Of course, this always got my Irish up because these Finns had to plagiarize the story of the good St. Patrick and place their fictitious holiday on March 16, the day before St. Patrick's Day, just to usurp some of the green goodness. Only the Irish have the luck, Guinness and gift of gab. The Finns just have beer. Ya sure, and maybe smelt, don't cha know.

From a great St. Urho website:

The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s. However, there are differing opinions as to whether it began with the fables created by Sulo Havumaki of Bemidji, or the tongue-in-cheek tales told by Richard Mattson of Virginia (Minnesota - on da Range - the Iron Range for all you out-of-towners). Either way, the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the United States and Canada, and even in Finland.

St. Urho's Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island. (Oh those funny Finns...bet they couldn't even point out Ireland on a map, even after a few brewskis)

The legend says St. Urho chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase: "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen" (roughly translated: "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!"). His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.


ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Did the Vatican also move his feastday, maybe to Siberia? Maybe his moving the grasshoppers was the cause of the Plague of Locusts Moses & the Pharaoh experienced...

swissmiss said...

LOL!! I always thought of it the other way, that the locusts left Egypt and then went to Finland.

And, what's the deal with the grapes. There must've been some serious global warming back then if they were growing all these grapes in Finland. I guess they must've needed the wine to wash down all that vile Lutefisk.

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

I'll bet they're sour grapes, such as the Finns had when St. Pat got so famous