I wanted to alert everyone before the weekend: find your purple t-shirts for March 16th.
This time of year, everyone is wearing green for St. Patrick. But there is another saint whose holiday is celebrated with a great deal of drinking: St. Urho.
St. Urho is a completely made-up saint. Essentially, Finnish Minnesotans were sick of green beer and Irish hoopla in March, and decided they needed their own holiday on March 16th:
“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…..
Today, the St. Urho tradition is carried on in many Finnish communities, sometimes as an excuse to add an extra day of rowdy celebration to the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. In many Finnish-American communities, however, St. Urho’s Day is the celebration, and St. Pat’s feast day is merely an afterthought, a day to sleep off the hangover.”
Urho’s victory over grasshoppers is celebrated by this statue in Menahga, MN. You can order your own Urho Gear at Nordic Designs, to make sure everyone knows you support this champion of biological control.
So make sure you drink some purple wine or purple beer (Ew!) March 16th, in honor of St. Urho’s entomological feat!