Category Archives: Culture and traditions

Saint Urho’s day

I have never heard about this thing called “Saint Urho’s day” before. Apparently it should be some kind of Finnish equivalent of St. Patrick’s day for those Americans who have Finnish roots. The tradition is to shout “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!” (“Grasshopper, grasshopper, go from hence to Hell!”, Don’t ask why!) and eat fish soup called “mojakka” (never heard about that either). I would also guess that it includes some drinking.

According to Wikipedia the legend of Saint Urho was the invention of a Finnish-American named Richard Mattson in Minnesota in the spring of 1956. Wikipedia also mentions that in Finland we don’t really recognize any saints.

Another resources, says: “The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers.” Anciaet what? I don’t really get that grasshopper thing. Grasshoppers sound like Biblical plague to me, but I have never heard they have been such a problem in Finland, at least not in March when temperature is still below zero (or maybe it’s because Saint Urho succeeded?). Neither does grapes grow in Finland, unless you mean blackcurrant, which is called viinimarja, “wineberry” in Finnish. Strange, because Minnesota should have approximately same climate as Finland, so they should know.

It sounds like somebody has been pulling somebody’s leg. Is there anynone who can admit that have ever celebrated Saint Urho’s day?