Statues of St. Urho

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More photos of the statue in Menahga, MN

More photos of the statue in Finland, MN

St. Urho & Grasshopper

Menahga, MN

Finland, MN

Closeup of the Mehahga, MN statue

The statue of St. Urho in Menahga, Minnesota has the following ode engraved on the statue, written by Sulo Havumaki: 

plaque 

"One of the lesser known, but extraordinary legends of ages past is the legend of St. Urho - Patron Saint of the Finnish vineyard workers.

"Before the last glacial period, wild grapes grew with abundance in the area now known as Finland. Archeologists have uncovered evidence of this scratched on the thigh bones of the giant bears that once roamed northern Europe. The grapes were threatened by a plague of grasshoppers until St. Urho banished the lot of them with a few selected Finnish words.

"In memory of this impressive demonstration of the Finnish language, Finnish people celebrate on March 16, the day before St. Patrick's Day. It tends to serve as a reminder that St. Pat's Day is just around the corner and is thus celebrated by squares. At sunrise on March 16, Finnish women and children dressed in royal purple and nile green gather around the shores of the many lakes in Finland and chant what St. Urho chanted many years ago: "Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiteen." (Translated: "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away!")

"Adult male (people, not grasshoppers) dressed in green costumes gather on the hills overlooking the lakes, listen to the chant, and then kicking out like grasshoppers, they slowly disappear to change costumes from green to purple. The celebration ends with singing and dancing polkas and schottisches and drinking grape juice, though these activities may occur in varying sequences.

"Color for the day is royal purple and nile green."

This is the "official" legend of St. Urho - inscribed on the plaque on the first statue erected to the Finnish folk hero, in Menahga, Minnesota.

 In reality, none of it is true. St. Urho never existed, but you have to admit that it's a great excuse for a party. And if you celebrate St. Patrick's Day too, you can stretch the celebration over a two-day period. But beware - those that consume too much purple and green beer have been known to see visions of giant grasshoppers looming on the horizon!

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