Mid March! A time when the US turns its attention to an important event–a type of March Madness, if you will. People stock up on food, buy special t-shirts, and drink alcoholic libations in mass quantities.  It’s….mnmenurhoside2

St. Urho’s Day: March 16th.

St. Urho (pronounced “oorho”) 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. A very amazing chainsaw sculpture!

Support  this champion of biological control by drinking some purple wine or purple beer (Ew!) March 16th, in honor of St. Urho’s entomological feat.

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Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Considering St. Patrick and his exploits are mostly made up in the first case, this is completely acceptable. :)

  2. QuestionAuthority March 16, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Who needs an excuse to drink wine or beer? ;-)

    I raise my glass in a toast to Bug Girl, who keeps us abreast of the latest developments in her field! K’plagh!

  3. This is great! I’ve always been conflicted by St. Patrick, what with his Catholicism and anti-paganism and apparent hate of snakes (metaphorical or otherwise). I like to booze it up as much as the next person, but St. Patrick never sat right with me. Now, though, St. Urho? Rock on.
    Especially awesome because I just learned, literally today ON St. Urho’s Day, after 31 years of thinking I am 1/4 Irish, that I am in fact 1/8 Irish and 1/8 FINNISH!!


  4. Jane Noponen/Perinacci March 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    St. Urho didn’t need a religious “thing” going on just like to save the grape and have a good time! Sisu poika!!!

  5. I remember passing that statue by while driving in MN, fun stuff! Thank you!

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