Come March 16, be prepared to celebrate Saint Urho, a mythical hero. He’s so mythical that folks from the motherland are not always familiar with this North American legend.
But on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border, those with Finnish heritage — and other wanna-bes — have discovered how much fun it is.
Did you notice it’s suspiciously the day before another ethnic holiday?
Here’s the backstory: In a verdant grape-growing country (possibly northern Minnesota), grasshoppers suddenly abounded. This threatened the grape crops (oh, dear — no wine??). As happened to folks in the 1880s hereabouts, no one knew how to get rid of them.
Then, along came Urho, a Finnish boy though not yet a saint, who said “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen.” Which means “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to hell!” or so I’ve been told.
And — can you believe it — the grasshoppers disappeared!
This year St. Urho’s Day (or Tay, for the more authentic pronunciation) is a Monday. Wear bright green for grasshoppers, and royal purple for grapes. (Helpful hint: Should you have trouble finding those colors, use items from the football season for the Vikings and Packers.)
If you desire goofy fun, several communities know how to do that with scavenger hunts, beauty queen contests, parades and more.