Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 16, 2012

Happy St. Urho’s Day

Spiffy logo

It’s a good thing St. Urho didn’t have Twitter, or we may not be celebrating his heroic act each March 16.

St. Urho grasshopper tribute in Kaleva

St. Urho, of course, is the brave soul who many years ago chased the pesky grasshoppers out of Finland, saving the grape crops and the fine Finnish wine industry.

He carried a big pitchfork to threaten the bugs as he shouted: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” (loosely translated, “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”).

That’s a Twitter-worthy message, but Urho would have had to set down his tool to type it, and what grasshopper would have skedaddled because of a tweet?

That’s a job for a pitchfork, not a smart phone.

Statue of St. Urho in Menahga, Minnesota (provided photo)

The St. Urho holiday was first recognized in the U.S. in the 1950s and spread to Canada. Finnish American communities and clubs honor St. Urho by dressing in the official colors of green and purple and hosting suppers, dances, and other activities like mojakka—beef stew—competitions.

According to the celebration is catching on in Finland, too.

The website dedicated to the legendary Finn also has a St. Urho’s Day blog with entries like the Top 10 reasons for EVERYONE to celebrate St. Urho’s Day including:
#10. You probably haven’t celebrated it before. It’s always good to try something new.
#3, If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you can now get the party started earlier, by a full 24 hours.
#2. Celebrating a fictional saint allows you to express your creativity…because, seriously, pretty much anything goes.

Also at you can check out the St. Urho’s Day Facebook page and—yes, it had to happen—Twitter. Here’s a short and sweet tweet from St. Urho: Grasshoppers are Finn-ished.

Mojakka, Finnish beef stew, is a hearty St. Urho's Day meal

You can read more about the history of this important event by clicking the links to previous Great Lakes Gazette posts:

St. Urho’s Day 2011 

Mojakka, Finnish beef stew recipe

St. Urho’s Day 2009



  1. I just heard there is a bar in my area that is serving purple beer today. Might have to check it out!

    • Have had green beer on March 17 but never purple… Go for it! 🙂

  2. […] St. Urho’s Day (2012) […]

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