St. Urho

This morning I have some words of advice for you: double-check your facts before you speak about them.

And now I shall explain. Up here in Northern Minnesota, many people have Scandinavian ancestors and they are very proud of it. Our state’s accent—yes we have one—is a direct result of all these Northern European immigrant’s languages. There are many fun traditions, such as Lesfe and Santa Lucia. And there are some not so fun ones such as Lutefisk (my sincerest apologies if anyone likes this stuff, I just cannot learn to like it).

Anyhow, my family is all very German in heritage. So we are always being educated on the Nordic ways by our friends. One such educational opportunity is the yearly tradition of St. Urho’s Day. Now I remember the Finnish descendants at church were passionate about this holiday. But having been away from the great white north for the past two and a half years, the holiday slipped my mind because the rest of the country celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with force. This year I am obviously back home with my family and with my church family—they truly are an extension of one’s immediate family! And St. Urho’s Day is here. I was so excited about the happy memories surrounding this tradition. We celebrated early this year at our church, just the Sunday before so as to put up a good stand against those Irish and their Green Beer Day (my family is actually more Irish than Scandinavian, but I don’t mind being the brunt of the Norse Men’s jokes). It is a fun and harmless tradition that takes place after the actual church service. I wanted to be sure to wish my Scandinavian church family well wishes on the actual day, however, to show them I had not forgotten all they had taught me while I was studying in Dixie Land. So I asked when the holiday was and was told by a reputable source that it was “Two days before St. Patrick’s Day.” That would make it the 15th, right? Well, we showed up at church last night for Lenten midweek service, and I realized I made a grave error. St. Urho’s Day is the 16th of March. Well, whoops! I was just so eager to celebrate that I started a day early I guess.

So today, in the deepest of remorse, I humbly submit to you a reading about St. Urho that I requested from a dear lady, the daughter of a Fin. I hope you will enjoy learning about St. Urho, and next year the proper date will be on my calendar!

This passage is from a newspaper clipping. (This is not my own creation. All credit is given to The Review Messenger of Sebeka & Menahga, MN from Wednesday, March 9, 2011.)

Now if you are not from Northern Minnesota and have never heard of this culturally beloved Saint, I will let you in on a little secret. The legend of St. Urho dates back to the 1950’s from Virginia, Bemidji, or Ely, Minnesota (depending on who you ask). For the longest time as a child, I believed this Saint to have been a real member of history because that is what I was told during doughnut time (that wonderful twenty minutes after church service and before Sunday School). Instead, I had to learn, that Saint Urho is fictitious. But if you can only have the pleasure of meeting some Scandinavian descendents up here, you will fall in love with the story of this Saint too!

But here is the official website http://www.sainturho.com/ I especially love how on the first page it says: “St. Urho’s Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better-known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island.” You see what I mean? How can you not love the Fins and the other Scandinavians?

Happy St. Urho’s Day, everyone!

~Nihil Sine Deo~

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4 Comments »

  1. We have saints for every day and occasion. Ever try to explain to anyone not in a Liturgical church what a saint is and why we do not pray to them just ask their help as one asks any good friend. Astounding. An experience not to be forgotten if you have not had this wonderful opportunity you have to try it sometime.

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  2. I had a good laugh before getting to the heart of your blog! I thought you meant Saint Uhoh , as in. Oh no! I messed up! Relieved that that’s not the case, but maybe there should be a Saint uh-oh, just for those moments.

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