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St. Urho's Day – March 16, 2023

St. Urho’s Day is observed each year on March 16 in Finland in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. In all possibilities, St. Urho is a fictional character yet the tales about him are just as fascinating.
St. Urho’s Day is a lighthearted celebration that gears up revelers for all the partying and drinking of St. Patrick’s Day. This is the day to let down your hair and get ready for the forthcoming celebrations. Unlike St. Patrick’s Day, the color of St. Urho’s Day is purple. So don’t forget to wear the colors of the day as you partake in all the fun. Happy St. Urho’s Day to all!

History of St. Urho's Day

St. Urho is an unusual character. As legends have it, the saint chased the grasshoppers out of Finland shouting at them, “Grasshoppers, Grasshoppers, Go to Hell!” But why did he want grasshoppers to disappear from Finland? This was so the wine vineyards could be saved from destruction. He also wanted to save the grapes and the worker’s jobs, all while feeding on only sour milk and fish soup. Thanks to his noble deeds, he became a hero. That sounds similar to St. Patrick, doesn’t it?

Legend also has it that St. Urho was inspired by St. Patrick. As the Finnish version of the Irish saint, you will find statues of St. Urho, one such in Minnesota, depicting him holding large grasshoppers in honor of his sacrifice. People wear purple and green on this day and celebrate by drinking wine and reciting this unusual story. The story is unusual because St. Urho doesn’t exist and never has! His is a story born purely out of fascination and humor. However, many people claim to know how St. Urho’s Day originated. They say that the originator is a department store owner Richard Mattson in Virginia, Minnesota who along with some friends created the character as a joke.

The story quickly spread all over the country, mostly to the southern states. The Finnish living in these areas would celebrate the saint as part of their national heritage. Some other people say that Finnish resident Sulo Havumaki of Bemidji, Minnesota is the creator of the holiday and he changed the theme from plague to grasshoppers.

St. Urho's Day timeline

1737
St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S.

The first parade is held in Boston.

1950s
Origins

St. Urho's Day is believed to have originated in Minnesota, U.S.

1962
Chicago Starts a Tradition

The Chicago River is colored green to celebrate the day.

1975
Government Proclamation

The Minnesota governor declares a proclamation recognizing St. Urho's Day.

St. Urho's Day FAQs

Why do we celebrate St. Urho's Day?

We celebrate Finnish traditions on this day.

How do you celebrate St. Urho's Day?

There is a beauty pageant, a parade, music, face painting, food, snow sculptures, and other community festivities.

Is St. Urho's Day in Finland?

Urho is known and celebrated across the United States and Canada, and even in Finland.

St. Urho's Day Activities

  1. Wear purple

    The color of St. Urho's Day is purple. Mark the day by dressing up in purple. Wear purple suits and if you want to look minimal, a purple scarf would look lovely. Go the extra mile by dying your hair purple.

  2. Eat Finnish food

    St. Urho's Day is a celebration in honor of the Finnish people. Why not celebrate the day by indulging in Finnish cuisine? Have a taste of the famous salmon soup and Finnish rye bread.

  3. Join the celebrations

    Mark St. Urho's Day by joining the celebrations. St. Urho's Day is celebrated with much fervor in Finnish communities. Find out if the Finnish community in your city is celebrating and join in the fun.

5 Interesting Facts About Finland

  1. The country is full of saunas

    Finland has more than three million saunas.

  2. The Finnish consume the most milk

    The average annual consumption of milk is 34 gallons per annum.

  3. They also drink the most coffee

    A Finnish consumes 12 kg of coffee every year.

  4. World’s third-most powerful passport

    The Finnish can travel to 175 countries without a visa.

  5. There’s a ‘Day for Failure’

    Celebrated on October 13, on this day the Finnish talk about their failures.

Why We Love St. Urho's Day

  1. We gear up for the festivities

    St. Urho's Day sets the ball rolling on the upcoming festivities. The day prepares revelers for all the drinking and partying for St. Patrick’s Day. Today is the day to let your hair down and have a great time.

  2. It’s a celebration of Finnish culture

    Even though St. Urho is a fictional character, he is a big part of the Finnish culture. St. Urho's Day is a true celebration of Finnish traditions. This is the day to celebrate all things Finnish.

  3. It’s a fun holiday

    The best thing about St. Urho's Day is how fun it is. Dress up in funny colors, party with your friends, and enjoy jokes on this day. It’s truly the best way to prepare yourself for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Urho's Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 16Thursday
2024March 16Saturday
2025March 16Sunday
2026March 16Monday
2027March 16Tuesday

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