St. Urho's Day

On March 17th we will be celebrating St. Patrick day. We will see special sales, parades, green banners, shamrocks, green clothing, green beer and all sorts of others symbols used to commemorate this saint.

St. Patrick was a grand saint. He came to Ireland from Scotland bringing the Good News of Christianity to heathen Ireland. He preached the Gospel and preformed many miracles, the most notable of which was driving all of the poisonous snakes out of Ireland into the sea.

Irish or not, multitudes celebrates St. Patrick's day, yet few seem to know or care about the patron saint of Finland; St. Orho.

Urho was born to pious parents in Finland and raised like many a Finnish child on a diet of sour milk (
feelia sour) and fish stew (kala mojakka.).  His parents had long prayed to have children and thought themselves to be too old. When Orho's mother became pregnant, they thanked God and pledged their child to His service.

Orho grew strong and was filled with faith in the Almighty. 
St. Patrick was known to have saved Ireland from poisonous snakes; Ohro also managed to save the people of Finland.

The People of Finland were proud of their wondrous grape crop. At that time Finnish grapes were the envy of the entire north and the people of that land were looking forward to a record harvest. 

Finland, and their record grape crop, was suddenly besieged by hoards of ravenous grasshoppers. People wrung their hands and dropped to their knees and prayed to God for a miracle to save them.

Young Urho stood up holding a pitchfork in his hand. He made the sign of a cross with his pitchfork and shouted: "
Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!" The English translation being: "Grasshopper, grasshopper, get the hell out of here." …And they did, the Grasshoppers fled Finland, for Sweden, Norway, Latvia and Russia.

Like Patrick with poisonous snakes, Urho saved Finland from grasshoppers.
This was not the only miracle performed by this marvelous saint. 
No sooner were the Finns saved from Grasshoppers, then they became imperiled by hoards of poisonous frogs.

Urho again raised his pitchfork and made the sign of a cross. 
All of the frogs dived into lake
Urho dropped to his knees and began praying.
A wind came from the north and froze lake
Saimaa solid.

Saint Orho then organized all of the Finnish men and had them saw the lake up into blocks of ice. The ice was then loaded aboard ships and their cargos transported to France. I have been told that from that day onward, the French people have taken a liking to frogs' legs.

People may claim that Ohro isn't a real saint, but the invention of Richard Mattson in 1956 while working at Ketola's Department store in Virginia Minnesota. Others may say that he was created by the Neimi brothers while they were drinking home brew and eating liverwurst sandwiches.

I would hope that people will remember St. Urho as well as St. Patrick. Ohro's birthday is celebrated on the 16th of March one day before St. Patrick's.

According to Folklorist, Richard Mattson, this is so the Finns will have a better chance to get to the beer before the Irish.

Happy St. Urho's, happy St. Patrick's, have a great week.

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