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Happy St. Urho’s Day!

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.

Map of Finnish Residents in the US (2006-10 Census)

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.

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Recent Comments

  1. mystified

    It would have helped your non-American readers if the writer had made it clear that by “Finn” she means “American of Finnish descent”. Those of us who are less fixated on the USA, and more aware of the diversity of this planet, define “Finn” as “person from Finland” and have no idea what St Urho’s Day is. It turns out to be a minor festival invented by a group of Finns in Minnesota. Who knew? More to the point, who cares? And all this, not from some airhead’s personal blog, but from Oxford University Press, from whom we used to expect better …

  2. […] Happy St. Urho’s Day!(oup.com) […]

  3. Alice

    I wanted to clarify for our readers that while St Urho’s Day originated in the US, it is now celebrated by Finns and people of Finnish descent around the world.

    For more information please follow the links above.
    –Blog Editor Alice

  4. proud of Finnish decent

    obviously a lot of people care about this holiday, and are proud to celebrate their Finnish heritage. What’s the harm in that? Why bother leaving such a negative comment if you don’t care anyway?

  5. […] knew that Oxford University Press would cover St. Urho’s Day? Check out their brief 2012 article, describing both a bit about the St. Urho’s Day tradition and even more about the […]

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