Monday, March 16, 2009

Grasshopper, grasshopper, Go to Hell!

Have you heard of St Urho?

My mom's family is Finnish so I grew up hearing about St Urho . Today, on March 16th, we celebrate St Urho saving Finland.

I will share what I've learned, so you too can know this hero of Finnish lore:

The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s from tales told by either a man from Virginia or a man from Bemidji. Over the years the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the Unite States.

The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, saving the grape crop. He did this by saying: "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen" (roughly translated: "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!"). St Urho's Day is celebrated by wearing the purple clothing.

Obviously, this "holiday" sounds similar to another, better known, ethnic celebration in March. Those Finns, they weren't particularly creative. Oh well. it was a fun day growing up and I still remember each year.

Today, to honor my heritage, I wore a purple shirt (OK - maybe it was periwinkle but I don't have much purple so it had to do) I also made grasshopper drinks, with creme de menthe, chocolate liquor, chocolate syrup and ice cream for dessert.

I felt very connected to my ancestors.


Finnglish words by Sally Karttunento

St. Urho was a Finnish lad,
A blue eyed, blond hair poika,
St. Urho, bashful suomalainen
Ate grapes and kala mojakkaa.

He chased those big green bugs away,
"Heinäsirkka, mene pois!"
He said it loudly, just one time ---
Tose 'hoppers had no choice!

And so the Finns are here right now,
To celebrate Dear Urho,
And sing and dance in temperatures….
.It's always way 'plo zero!

Then in snowbanks deep and rivers iced,
To our saunas we will go, oh!
Cuz' Urho is our hero, now,
As all good Finns must know!


No comments: