Happy St Urho’s Day! Smack dab in-between the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day is the little known St Urho’s Day celebration. Not many people get excited about this Finnish Hero. I felt that my Grandsons should be taken to the parade..it was our Grandma Adventure last Saturday! I wrote this two years ago. The photos that accompany the story were taken last Saturday. Typical to small town celebrations, there were a King and a Queen in the parade and people that threw candy. Finlanders travel from far and wide to partake in the parade and celebration. Well.. maybe twenty miles or more.
Today is indeed the day that Finlanders all over Minnesota celebrate Saint Urho’s battle with the pesky grasshoppers that threatened the grape crop. He chased the grasshoppers waving a pitchfork hollering "Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten"…Grasshopper, grasshopper get the hell out of here.
The colors of the day are Deep Purple representing the grapes, and Emerald Green representing the grasshoppers or the vines.
This legend of Saint Urho began in 1956, in Virginia, Minnesota as a joke, the Finns answer to St. Patrick’s Day. Richard L. Mattson and Gene Mc Cavic are most often credited for starting this great celebration.
Today in Menahga, Minnesota there will be men running from the hillside toward the lake, somehow they begin by wearing green, that is magically changed to purple..they chase the grasshoppers into the lake and the whole town celebrates by having Culla Mojakka (Fish Soup) and Flat-bread.
Menahga has a twelve foot tall statue of St. Urho…pronounced Errrrh-hoe…he has a large grasshopper impaled on his pitchfork. The statue is located on Highway 71. Menahga also has the best bakery around, it is located kitty-corner from the Post Office..you can purchase the most wonderful flat-bread there…but never on a Monday.
The little boys indulged me, Little Elvis was a little scared..the boys got lots of candy and the whole parade must have lasted all of five minutes. I have always wanted to attend this parade and I was thrilled to share it with them!