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Saint Urho

Saint Urho (Finnish: Pyhä Urho ) is a fictional saint of Finland, created and elaborated by Finnish Americans in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s, to celebrate their heritage and extend celebrations of St. Patrick's Day. His celebration day is set to March 16, the day before the March 17 feast day of St. Patrick. St. Patrick's feast day is celebrated by Irish Americans, of whom there are also many in Minnesota.[citation needed]

Saint Urho
Sculpture of St. Urho in Menahga, Minnesota (2020)
Created byRichard Mattson and Gene McCavic
BirthplaceFinland
Feast DayMarch 16
Known forSaving the Finnish grape crops from a frog or grasshopper plague
In-universe information
Full nameUrho
GenderMale
OccupationSaint
OriginNorthern Minnesota
NationalityFinland

Contents

The legend of Saint Urho was the invention of a Finnish-American named Richard Mattson, who worked at Ketola's Department Store in Virginia, Minnesota in the spring of 1956. Mattson later recounted that he invented St. Urho when he was questioned by coworker Gene McCavic about the Finns' lack of a saint like the Irish St. Patrick, whose feat of casting the snakes out of Ireland is remembered on St. Patrick's Day. In fact, the patron saint of Finland (except for the Orthodox Church of Finland) is the bishop Saint Henry, whose feast day occurs on January 19.

According to the original "Ode to St. Urho" written by Gene McCavic and Richard Mattson, St. Urho was supposed to have cast "tose 'Rogs" (those frogs) out of Finland by the power of his loud voice, which he obtained by drinking "feelia sour" (sour whole milk) and eating "kala mojakka" (fish soup). The selection of the name Urho as the saint's name was probably influenced by the accession of Urho Kekkonen to the presidency of Finland in 1956. (Similarly, St. Urho's Pub in Töölö, Helsinki, is known to have received its name from Urho Kekkonen and has nothing to do with Saint Urho). Urho in the Finnish language also has the meaning of hero or simply brave.

The original "Ode to St. Urho" identified St. Urho's Day as taking place on May 24. Later the date was changed to March 16, the day before St. Patrick's Day so the Finns could start drinking green beer a day before the Irish. St. Urho's feast is supposed to be celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. Other details of the invented legend also changed, apparently under the influence of Dr. Sulo Havumäki, a psychology professor at Bemidji State College in Bemidji, Minnesota. The legend now states that St. Urho drove away grasshoppers (rather than frogs) from Finland using the incantation "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!" ("Grasshopper, grasshopper, go from hence to Hell!"), thus saving the Finnish grape crops. Another version of the modern celebration of St. Urho's Day is that it was created by Kenneth Brist of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Brist, a high school teacher, was teaching in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the early to mid-1950s in an area largely populated by people of Finnish heritage. He and his friends concocted March 16 as St. Urho's Day so that they had two days to celebrate, the next day being St. Patrick's Day.

Side by side comparison
The original English translation

Ooksi kooksi coolama vee
Santia Urho is ta poy for me!
He sase out ta hoppers as pig as pirds.
Neffer peefor haff I hurd tose words!

He reely tolt tose pugs of kreen
Braffest Finn I effer seen
Some celebrate for St. Pat unt hiss nakes
Putt Urho poyka kot what it takes.

He kot tall and trong from feelia sour
Unt ate kala moyakka effery hour.
Tat's why tat kuy could sase toes peetles
What krew as thick as chack bine neetles.

So let's give a cheer in hower pest vay
On Sixteenth of March, St. Urho's Tay.

Ooksi kooksi coolama vee [1,2,3,4,5]
Saint Urho is the boy for me!
He chased out the hoppers as big as birds
Never before have I heard those words!

He really told those bugs of green
Bravest Finn I ever seen
Some celebrate for St. Pat and his snakes
But Urho poika (boy) got what it takes

He got strong and tall from viili sour
And ate kalamojakka (fish soup) every hour
That's why that guy could chase those beetles
What grew as thick as jack pine needles

So lets give a cheer in our best way
On the sixteenth of March, St. Urho's Day.

Brist promoted the "annual cancellation" of the St. Urho's Day Parade in Chippewa Falls with advertisements in the Chippewa Herald Telegram and by teaching his high school students about the legend of St. Urho. The "Ode to St. Urho" has been modified to reflect these changes in the feast day and legend. The Ode is written in a self-parodying form of English as spoken by Finnish immigrants. There is also a "Ballad of St. Urho" written by Sally Karttunen.

There are St. Urho fan clubs in Canada and Finland as well as the U.S., and the festival is celebrated on March 16 in many American and Canadian communities with Finnish roots. The original statue of St. Urho is located in Menahga, Minnesota. Another interesting chainsaw-carved St. Urho statue is located in Finland, Minnesota. A 2001 book, The Legend of St. Urho by Joanne Asala, presents much of the folklore surrounding St. Urho and includes an essay by Richard Mattson on the "birth" of St. Urho.

On March 16, 1999 in Kaleva, Michigan a large Metal Sculpture of a Grasshopper was dedicated in honor of St. Urho's day. Kaleva is a community settled by Finnish immigrants in 1900. Kaleva is named after the Kalevala, the Epic Finnish story about the Creation of the Earth.

Many places with mixed populations of Finnish and Irish have an annual St. Urho's day event on the night before St. Patrick's Day. Butte, Montana holds such a celebration each March 16.

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, just north of Minnesota, is another location where St. Urho's Day is joyfully celebrated on the weekend nearest to March 16. The Finlandia Club is the headquarters for all that is Finnish in northern Ontario. A grasshopper slung on a pole is hauled through the streets in a parade through the streets near the Finlandia club where the celebration continues with food, music and dance.

Although St. Urho's Day is not widely known or celebrated in Finland, it has been celebrated in Turku since 1987. At the University of Turku students studying Folkloristics, Comparative Religion and Ethnology have organized a St. Urho's Day play yearly since 1987.

  1. Joanne Asala (2001). Finnish-American Folklore: The Legend of St. Urho : Essays, Celebrations, Illustrations, Grapes, and Grasshoppers. Penfield Press. ISBN 978-1-57216-091-0.
  2. Williams, Linda Tyssen (2001-06-07). "St. Urho legend's creator, Richard Mattson, dies: St. Patrick got fierce competition from Finnish grapes-saver". Mesabi Daily News. Retrieved2007-02-13.
  3. "St. Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland". St. Urho. RetrievedAugust 30, 2020.
  4. "The Origin of St. Urho". St. Urho: Legendary Patron Saint of Finland. Retrieved2007-02-13.
  5. Marttinen, Vesa (March 16, 2016). "Amerikansuomalaisten erikoinen perinne voi paksusti – Pyhä Urho täyttää tänään 60 vuotta" [The special tradition of American Finns living well – St. Urho turns 60 today!]. YLE (in Finnish). RetrievedFebruary 14, 2021.
  6. Urho's Pub
  7. "St. Urho: Legendary Patron Saint of Finland". Retrieved2007-02-13.
  8. Interview with Kenneth Brist, WCCO Radio, March 16, 1971, citing unpublished research of Phillip Keezer, Phd.
  9. "St. Urho - Kenneth Brist".
  10. Chippewa Herald Telegram, March 16, 1970, page 4.
  11. McCavic, Gene; Mattson, Richard. "Ode to St. Urho". St. Urho: Legendary Patron Saint of Finland. Retrieved2007-02-13.
  12. Karttunen, Sally. "Ballad of St. Urho". St. Urho: Legendary Patron Saint of Finland. Retrieved2007-02-13.
  13. "St. Urho Celebrations". St. Urho: Legendary Patron Saint of Finland. Retrieved2007-02-13.
  14. "Kaleva--a historic Finnish American Community in the heart of Manistee County", Kaleva, Michigan
  15. http://www.mainstreetbutte.org/
  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPpAnPaf3fc
  17. http://www.finlandiaclub.ca/
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved2014-03-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. Anne Heimo, Tuomas Hovi & Maria Vasenkari (ed.) 2012: Pyhä Urho: fakeloresta folkloreksi = St Urho: from fakelore to folklore. Folkloristiikan julkaisuja 2. Turku: Turun yliopisto. ISBN 978-951-29-4897-0

Saint Urho
Saint Urho Language Watch Edit Saint Urho Finnish Pyha Urho ˈpyhae ˈurho is a fictional saint of Finland created and elaborated by Finnish Americans in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s to celebrate their heritage and extend celebrations of St Patrick s Day 1 His celebration day is set to March 16 the day before the March 17 feast day of St Patrick St Patrick s feast day is celebrated by Irish Americans of whom there are also many in Minnesota citation needed Saint UrhoSculpture of St Urho in Menahga Minnesota 2020 Created byRichard Mattson and Gene McCavicBirthplaceFinlandFeast DayMarch 16Known forSaving the Finnish grape crops from a frog or grasshopper plagueIn universe informationFull nameUrhoGenderMaleOccupationSaintOriginNorthern MinnesotaNationalityFinland Contents 1 Creation 2 Ode to Saint Urho 3 Popularity 4 See also 5 ReferencesCreation EditThe legend of Saint Urho was the invention of a Finnish American named Richard Mattson who worked at Ketola s Department Store in Virginia Minnesota in the spring of 1956 Mattson later recounted that he invented St Urho when he was questioned by coworker Gene McCavic about the Finns lack of a saint like the Irish St Patrick whose feat of casting the snakes out of Ireland is remembered on St Patrick s Day 2 In fact the patron saint of Finland except for the Orthodox Church of Finland is the bishop Saint Henry whose feast day occurs on January 19 According to the original Ode to St Urho written by Gene McCavic and Richard Mattson St Urho was supposed to have cast tose Rogs those frogs out of Finland by the power of his loud voice which he obtained by drinking feelia sour sour whole milk and eating kala mojakka fish soup 3 4 The selection of the name Urho as the saint s name was probably influenced by the accession of Urho Kekkonen to the presidency of Finland in 1956 5 Similarly St Urho s Pub in Toolo Helsinki is known to have received its name from Urho Kekkonen and has nothing to do with Saint Urho 6 Urho in the Finnish language also has the meaning of hero or simply brave 5 The original Ode to St Urho identified St Urho s Day as taking place on May 24 Later the date was changed to March 16 the day before St Patrick s Day so the Finns could start drinking green beer a day before the Irish 5 St Urho s feast is supposed to be celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green Other details of the invented legend also changed apparently under the influence of Dr Sulo Havumaki a psychology professor at Bemidji State College in Bemidji Minnesota The legend now states that St Urho drove away grasshoppers rather than frogs from Finland using the incantation Heinasirkka heinasirkka mene taalta hiiteen Grasshopper grasshopper go from hence to Hell thus saving the Finnish grape crops 7 5 Another version of the modern celebration of St Urho s Day is that it was created by Kenneth Brist of Chippewa Falls Wisconsin Brist a high school teacher was teaching in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the early to mid 1950s in an area largely populated by people of Finnish heritage He and his friends concocted March 16 as St Urho s Day so that they had two days to celebrate the next day being St Patrick s Day 8 9 Ode to Saint Urho EditSide by side comparison The original English translationOoksi kooksi coolama vee Santia Urho is ta poy for me He sase out ta hoppers as pig as pirds Neffer peefor haff I hurd tose words He reely tolt tose pugs of kreen Braffest Finn I effer seen Some celebrate for St Pat unt hiss nakes Putt Urho poyka kot what it takes He kot tall and trong from feelia sour Unt ate kala moyakka effery hour Tat s why tat kuy could sase toes peetles What krew as thick as chack bine neetles So let s give a cheer in hower pest vay On Sixteenth of March St Urho s Tay Ooksi kooksi coolama vee 1 2 3 4 5 Saint Urho is the boy for me He chased out the hoppers as big as birds Never before have I heard those words He really told those bugs of green Bravest Finn I ever seen Some celebrate for St Pat and his snakes But Urho poika boy got what it takes He got strong and tall from viili sour And ate kalamojakka fish soup every hour That s why that guy could chase those beetles What grew as thick as jack pine needles So lets give a cheer in our best way On the sixteenth of March St Urho s Day Popularity EditBrist promoted the annual cancellation of the St Urho s Day Parade in Chippewa Falls with advertisements in the Chippewa Herald Telegram and by teaching his high school students about the legend of St Urho 10 The Ode to St Urho has been modified to reflect these changes in the feast day and legend The Ode is written in a self parodying form of English as spoken by Finnish immigrants 11 There is also a Ballad of St Urho written by Sally Karttunen 12 There are St Urho fan clubs in Canada and Finland as well as the U S and the festival is celebrated on March 16 in many American and Canadian communities with Finnish roots 13 The original statue of St Urho is located in Menahga Minnesota Another interesting chainsaw carved St Urho statue is located in Finland Minnesota A 2001 book The Legend of St Urho by Joanne Asala presents much of the folklore surrounding St Urho and includes an essay by Richard Mattson on the birth of St Urho 1 On March 16 1999 in Kaleva Michigan a large Metal Sculpture of a Grasshopper was dedicated in honor of St Urho s day Kaleva is a community settled by Finnish immigrants in 1900 Kaleva is named after the Kalevala the Epic Finnish story about the Creation of the Earth 14 Many places with mixed populations of Finnish and Irish have an annual St Urho s day event on the night before St Patrick s Day Butte Montana holds such a celebration each March 16 15 Thunder Bay Ontario Canada just north of Minnesota is another location where St Urho s Day is joyfully celebrated on the weekend nearest to March 16 16 The Finlandia Club is the headquarters for all that is Finnish in northern Ontario 17 A grasshopper slung on a pole is hauled through the streets in a parade through the streets near the Finlandia club where the celebration continues with food music and dance 18 Although St Urho s Day is not widely known or celebrated in Finland it has been celebrated in Turku since 1987 At the University of Turku students studying Folkloristics Comparative Religion and Ethnology have organized a St Urho s Day play yearly since 1987 19 See also EditCulture of Finnish Americans Heikki LuntaReferences Edit a b Joanne Asala 2001 Finnish American Folklore The Legend of St Urho Essays Celebrations Illustrations Grapes and Grasshoppers Penfield Press ISBN 978 1 57216 091 0 Williams Linda Tyssen 2001 06 07 St Urho legend s creator Richard Mattson dies St Patrick got fierce competition from Finnish grapes saver Mesabi Daily News Retrieved 2007 02 13 St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland St Urho Retrieved August 30 2020 The Origin of St Urho St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland Retrieved 2007 02 13 a b c d Marttinen Vesa March 16 2016 Amerikansuomalaisten erikoinen perinne voi paksusti Pyha Urho tayttaa tanaan 60 vuotta The special tradition of American Finns living well St Urho turns 60 today YLE in Finnish Retrieved February 14 2021 Urho s Pub St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland Retrieved 2007 02 13 Interview with Kenneth Brist WCCO Radio March 16 1971 citing unpublished research of Phillip Keezer Phd St Urho Kenneth Brist Chippewa Herald Telegram March 16 1970 page 4 McCavic Gene Mattson Richard Ode to St Urho St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland Retrieved 2007 02 13 Karttunen Sally Ballad of St Urho St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland Retrieved 2007 02 13 St Urho Celebrations St Urho Legendary Patron Saint of Finland Retrieved 2007 02 13 Kaleva a historic Finnish American Community in the heart of Manistee County Kaleva Michigan http www mainstreetbutte org https www youtube com watch v PPpAnPaf3fc http www finlandiaclub ca Archived copy Archived from the original on 2014 03 15 Retrieved 2014 03 15 CS1 maint archived copy as title link Anne Heimo Tuomas Hovi amp Maria Vasenkari ed 2012 Pyha Urho fakeloresta folkloreksi St Urho from fakelore to folklore Folkloristiikan julkaisuja 2 Turku Turun yliopisto ISBN 978 951 29 4897 0 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Saint Urho amp oldid 1052104090, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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