Thursday, March 16, 2017
St. Urho Day (SOL17 #16)
My father in law is a character. He loves to tell stories and keep people laughing. Since I joined this family I have enjoyed getting to know him better and listening to all of his tales, both truthful and not so much. When Phil and I first started dating we were watching the Blues Brothers in the living room. His dad looked at me, deadpan, and said, "You know Katie, I was a stunt driver in this movie." Having not been born yesterday I knew he was telling one of his tales, but I went along with his lie nonetheless just because it's the type of guy he is.
Now that we are married Phil and I decided that we would bring both of our families together to celebrate the holiday of my ancestors, St. Patrick's Day. I spend the entire day making a crazy amount of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to share with all of our family. My father in law, John, loves to come to this event and eats all the delicious food, but insists on wearing purple to our green holiday feast. He compliments others on their kelly green attire just waiting for someone to ask him why he's not wearing green, but purple instead. Someone always takes the bait.
"Purple is the color of my favorite holiday, St. Urho Day!" St. Urho Day? What is that? "St. Urho Day is the holiday that celebrates St. Urho and when he chased the grasshoppers out of Finland. We celebrate on March 16th, the day before your crazy holiday. Thus, our holiday is better than YOUR holiday."
I guess now is a good time to mention that my in laws are Finnish, and our last name actually means 'Finland' in Finnish. John is VERY proud of his heritage and likes to share his knowledge about Finland and their culture whenever possible. Now if you listen the the story behind St. Urho Day you may say that it sounds VERY similar to a story about a certain St. Patrick who chased all the frogs out of Ireland. The first time I heard about St. Urho I assumed that John made it up, much like he did with the Blues Brothers stunt driver story.
Oddly enough, that's not the case. St. Urho Day was made up in the 1950's by a man in Northern Minnesota that was tired of all the Irish people getting all of the attention on St. Patrick's Day. He decided to create this "holiday" to get some attention for the Finns. He purposely chose March 16th, the day before St. Patrick's Day. Instead of wearing green, the Finns wear purple to represent the grape crops that were saved when good ol' St. Urho chased all of those grasshoppers out of Finland.
So today, I grudgingly celebrate this made up holiday along with my Finnish family. I guess it will have to tide me over until we celebrate the REAL holiday tomorrow!
Happy St. Urho Day bloggers!