Quick Facts

Dates
Every March 16th
Founded in
1950
Founded by
Sulo Havumaki or Richard Mattson
Websites
St. Urho's Day
Hashtag
#StUrhosDay

Part of the story of the United States begins with the immigration of different cultures. In the U.S., various holidays celebrate these kinds of cultures. Among those cultures, the Finnish have traditions that keep them proud of their heritage. Stories inspired one of those holidays, and you guessed it, it’s about the story of St. Urho. Anyone can celebrate this holiday, so let’s learn about the history of this cultural holiday and see how you can celebrate it, no matter where you are or what tradition you follow.

History of St. Urho’s Day

St. Urho is an unusual character; according to legend, he chased the grasshoppers out of Finland shouting at them, “Grasshoppers, Grasshoppers, Go to Hell!” and saved the wine vineyards from destruction, saving the grapes and the worker’s jobs, all while fortified by sour milk and fish soup. From this instance, he became a hero. Sound similar to St. Patrick, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because St. Patrick inspired him. As the Finnish version of the Irish saint, there are statues of him in Minnesota, depicted holding large grasshoppers in honor of his sacrifice. People wear purple and green on this day and celebrate by drinking wine and reciting his story.

The funny thing was is that St. Urho doesn’t exist and never has. He’s a story born out of sheer fascination and humor. Many sources argue that the originator of the story began with department store owner Richard Mattson in Virginia, MN. He alongside some friends created the character as a joke. However, according to this legend, the story spread nationwide, mostly to the southern states, and the Finnish that occupied the areas would celebrate the saint as part of their national heritage. Another source also credits Sulo Havumaki, a Finnish resident of Bemidji, MN, which states that the stories of St. Urho were part of his local identity, who is credited from changing the themes from plague to grasshoppers.

How to Celebrate St. Urho’s Day

If you want to celebrate in a holiday that’s quirky and unique, then wear purple and green. Tell people about the story of St. Urho and why you find it interesting. If you’re daring, take a trip to Minnesota and visit the statue erected in towns such as Virginia and Bemidji. Share this holiday on your favorite social media websites and tell everyone about the story of St. Urho and see what responses you could get.

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