Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Heinasirka, heinasirka, mena taalta heiteen!

“The legend says St. Urho chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen” (roughly translated: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”). His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture…..

Today, the St. Urho tradition is carried on in many Finnish communities, sometimes as an excuse to add an extra day of rowdy celebration to the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. In many Finnish-American communities, however, St. Urho’s Day is the celebration, and St. Pat’s feast day is merely an afterthought, a day to sleep off the hangover.”

Yes, indeed, we are Finnish!  Well, my father's family is anyhow.  So I guess I've got a little Finn mixed in with the rest of my Heinz 57 heritage.  And I am quick to remember this every year only because it falls before St. Patrick's Day, the holiday everyone else remembers!  My father's parents were from Helsinki, Finland, and while I never met my grandfather, my grandmother spoke Finnish quite fluently.  I have childhood memories of her speaking the language and how one particular verse  became more recognizable on March 16th each year.  There aren't many left in my family who can speak Finn, but you can be sure they know how to speak today's blog title!

My grandmother passed away the day that Oliver was born, a little over 9 years ago.  I know that she is dancing in heaven today as we remember her heritage....  so, for you, grandma, 

"Happy St. Urho's Day!"

1 comment:

  1. Happy St. Urho's Day to you too! And that Girls' Weekend looks like it must have been awesome.