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Happy St. Urho’s Day from the Finns

Happy St. Urho’s Day!
You forgot? Well, here’s your gentle reminder that on March 16 we Finns celebrate the patron saint of Suomi (Finland).
It’s been awhile since I’ve written about St. Urho’s, so here’s the story: St. Urho is alleged to have chased the grasshoppers out of Finland many centuries ago and saved the Finnish grape crop. He simply shouted: “Heinasirka, heinasirka, mena taalta heiteen!” Roughly translated it means “go away!”
Really. Would a Finlander pull your leg any more than an Irishman?
In case you forgot here’s the famous ode and its translation. It was written in Finnglish and is best read aloud.

Ode to St. Urho
Ooksi kooksi coolama vee
Santia Urho is ta poy for me!
He sase out ta hoppers as pig as pirds.
Neffer peefor haff I hurd tose words!

He reely tolt tose pugs of kreen
Braffest Finn I effer seen
Some celebrate for St. Pat unt hiss nakes
Putt Urho poyka kot what it takes.

He kot tall and trong from feelia sour
Unt ate kala moyakka effery hour.
Tat’s why tat kuy could sase toes peetles
What krew as thick as chack bine neetles.

So let’s give a cheer in hower pest vay
On Sixteenth of March, St. Urho’s Tay.

Written by Richard Mattson and Gene McCavic of Virginia, Minn.

One, two, three, five
Saint Urho is the boy for me.
He chased out the grasshoppers that were as big as birds,
Never before have I heard those words.

He really told those bugs of green,
Bravest Finn I’ve ever seen.
Some celebrate for St. Pat and his snakes,
But Urho boy has got what it takes.

He got tall and strong on feelia sour (sour buttermilk)
And ate kalla moyakka (fish head stew) every hour.
That’s why that guy could chase those beetles,
That grew as thick as jack pine needles.

So let’s give a cheer in our best way,
On the sixteenth of March – St. Urho’s Day!

And who said the Finns didn’t have class? Eat your hearts out all you Swedes and Norwegians!
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.