Get Your Mojakka On…It's St. Urho's Day!

Get Your Mojakka On…It’s St. Urho’s Day!

This giant grasshopper sculpture honors St. Urho in Kaleva, Michigan (provided photo)

This giant grasshopper sculpture honors St. Urho in Kaleva, Michigan (provided photo)

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, of course, is the brave soul who many years ago chased the pesky grasshoppers out of Finland, saving the grape crop 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!”).

I was lucky to travel through Minnesota and visit the St. Urho statue in Menahga

I was lucky to travel through Minnesota and visit the St. Urho statue in Menahga

You can learn all about the legend at StUrhosDay.com and check out the St. Urho’s Day Facebook page. I even saw a short and sweet tweet from St. Urho:

Grasshoppers are Finn-ished.

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.

The Legend of St. Urho is better known in the U.S. than in Finland, mainly because the patron saint was invented in Minnesota in the 1950s. There is a statue of St. Urho in Menahga, Minnesota and a sculpture of a giant grasshopper in Kaleva, Michigan

Unlike the widespread celebrations of March 17 when everyone claims to be Irish, St. Urho tributes are low-key and mainly found in pockets of northern Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Canada, where Finnish-Americans have learned how to pronounce Urho (it involves rolling the “r”). The folks in Finland, Minnesota celebrate their 41st annual St. Urho’s Celebration last weekend, but you can still catch Menahga’s three-day party and parade March 18-20.

Salutes to the obscure idol revolve around mojakka—beef stew pronounced, roughly, MOY-ah-kah—suppers and competitions, wearing of the purple and green, and raising a glass or several (which also happens to help with the rolling of the “r” as in Happy St. Urrrrrrho’s Day).

sturhosday-300x202According to StUrhosDay.com 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.
and
#3, If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you can now get the party started earlier, by a full 24 hours.
and
#2. Celebrating a fictional saint allows you to express your creativity…because, seriously, pretty much anything goes.

 

Related:

Recipe for beef stew:  Mojakka on the Menu