This one is for my Irish friend who was known to get all spiritual and say about this day, “The counterfeit comes before the real.”
St. Urho’s Day comes just once a year. It is a fictional Finnish holiday strategically set one day before St. Patrick’s Day. I believe one of my relatives made the whole thing up before I was born and I’m not kidding. It’s celebrated by Finns all over the world by wearying green and purple.
Urho is actually the name of a former Finnish president. The story mimics the real Irish one but has a twist of names and conquered species. The legend is about a brave Finnish fellow who miraculously boots the grasshoppers out of Finland thus saving the precious grapes. Never mind that grapes don’t grow in Finland. I think the holiday was created for the Finnish love of wine that sets the tone for the festivity.
Never mind that there is no “f” in the Finnish language either. The Finns are laden with a bunch of contradictions and it doesn’t bother them because they just keep going no matter what. I think Europeans were embarrassed for the Finns and changed the name of their country. The Finns call their country Suomi which means SwampLand if translated into English.
The blonde-haired group celebrates the day by drinking grape juice and eating chocolate-covered grasshoppers. The decadent desert isn’t even real; it’s just almonds and chow mien noodles covered with chocolate. But it serves to play a joke on the little ones to gross them out when you tell them we are all going to eat chocolate cover grasshoppers.
The old Finn folks typically go to Baker’s Square and get themselves a grasshopper pie – the minty stuff. Not one Finn cares about that kind of pie any other day of the year.
There is a kitschy mammoth statue of St. Urho in Menahga, Minnesota where they celebrate St. Urho Days every year. Any Finnish event seems to have Finnish pancakes, called kropsua, in the morning and then Mojakka for lunch. Mojakka has beef steak in it but the word translated into English means fish stew. Again, it doesn’t matter – these are Finns and they don’t care if they make sense.
When I was growing up, I was told to be proud of being a Finn but it was never explained to me why. However, I have found a number of reasons to be embarrassed about my sub-culture. Namely, trying to explain to outsiders why Finns actually go into saunas (they are the ones who created the steam house) together with their own gender in the buff. There are other things like pronouncing the Finnish harp in front of non-Finns or even the last name of Finns’ most famous female social activist.
Finns aren’t the warmest group either. They choose to shake hands rather than hug. Yet, most Finnish Believers are bold when they go around shaking each other’s hands with the greeting, ”Jumalan Terve” which means God’s greetings. Then, before they leave, they say “Jumalan Rauhaa” which means God’s peace.
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