The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s. However, there are differing opinions as to whether it began with the fables created by Sulo Havumaki of Bemidji, or the tongue-in-cheek tales told byRichard Mattson of Virginia. Either way, the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the United States and Canada, and EVEN in Finland.
St. Urho’s Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island.
The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” (roughly translated: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”). His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.