Butte readies to celebrate the ‘Hero’ of Finland
Alright, before you get fully decked out in your green drinking uniform, remember, much like a good concert we have a great opening act on Thursday, as we celebrate St. Urhos Day.
Legend says St. Urho chased monster grasshoppers out of ancient Finland to save the grape crop in Finnish vineyards. Apparently, his imposing 7-foot frame and pitchfork weren’t enough, No. The true weapon he used to drive out the swarms of grasshoppers was his “loud and mellifluous voice”. His phrase of choice?
“Heinasirkka, Heinasirkka, mene taalta hiteen”
Loosely translated means “Grasshopper, Grasshopper, Go to Hell”
I mean it sounds good.
The saint of Finland is fictional, made up by Finnish Americans in Northern Minnesota to celebrate their heritage, and to also extend the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
The Legend goes back to 1956 and is attributed to Finnish American Richard Mattson, who worked in a department store in Virginia, Minnesota. Mr. Mattson is credited with conjuring up the Finnish counterpart to St. Patrick.
A man by the name of Gene McCavic picked up the pitchfork and added to the story by writing “An Ode to St.Urho” with help from Mattson. It tells the tale of a young man who gets strong by eating… sour milk and fish soup (breakfast of champions) In the original Ode as well, it wasn’t grasshoppers the sourmilk sippin lad drove out of Finland, it was frogs. Dr. Sulo Havumakl a professor at Bemidji State in Minnesota, is credited with changing plague from frogs to grasshoppers.
The original poem can be viewed in Chisolm, Minnesota, it is written on a piece of wrapping paper.
In Butte, St. Urho’s Day will be celebrated throughout Butte, BUT the center of the celebration will be at the Helsinki Bar in uptown Butte, 402 E. Broadway. Colton Kingston will be crowned St. Urho in a celebration starting at 6pm, and at 8 pm The Great Scots Bag Pipers will perform. Colton has the honor of carrying the pitchfork for the night, and also in the St.Pats parade on Friday. Hopefully, he has warmed up his vocal cords.
In Finn, Urho translates to ‘Hero’
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