March 16, 2006 – Happy St. Urho’s Day!

Today honors the legendary patron saint of Finland, St. Urho. Not many people know that long before the last ice age, a nasty invasion of grasshoppers threatened the Finnish Grape Crop. In desperation, St. Urho shouted out those immortal words “Heinasirkka, heinaasirkka, mene taalta hiiteen” which politely translated means “Grasshopper, Grasshopper Go Away.”

Here’s a picture of one of the many statues of St Urho, this one from Menagha, Minnesota courtesy and courtesy of Tim Winker at

This photo shows one of the vanquished grasshoppers on St Urho’s pitchfork.

Some of the cynics among you may think that this is a fabricated holiday cleverly placed the day before St. Patrick’s day. Legends have to start some time!