By Sydney Beveridge
While Irish eyes are smiling on St. Patrick’s Day, many Finns are already celebrating St. Urho’s Day. The holiday was first celebrated in Minnesota on March 16th, which happens to be just before St. Patrick’s Day.
It honors the legendary Urho, the patron saint of vineyard workers. As the story goes, he saved the grape crop from a grasshopper infestation with his horrible breath as he yelled, “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!” (Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away!)
Soon after the first St. Urho’s Day was celebrated, the 1960 census reported that there were 240,827 people in the US born in Finland, representing 0.1 percent of the total population.
Over 15 percent of them resided in Minnesota, where St. Urho celebrations first originated.
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, there are now 647,697 residents of Finnish ancestry, making up about 0.2 percent of the total population.
Some St. Urho’s Day revelers dress up as grasshoppers and grapes to celebrate. As you can see, Finns are especially concentrated in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Explore the map to see where you should plan your next St. Urho’s Day outing, or if you are a grasshopper, where to avoid.
Happy St. Urho’s Day from Social Explorer!
Sydney Beveridge is the Media and Content Editor for Social Explorer, where she works on the blog, curriculum materials, how-to-videos, social media outreach, presentations and strategic planning. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.