St. Joseph’s Day traditions

Today we celebrate The Feast of St. Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the human father of Jesus. For Italian Americans, especially those of Sicilian descent, we commemorate this day by giving thanks to St. Joseph for all of his intercessions and help throughout the year. It’s a day when we gather together and set up an altar or table to St. Joseph, upon which we place items like food, fresh fruit, and delicious pastries. Fava beans are set out for good luck, and to remind us of how the fava was a staple crop that helped keep the people of Sicily from going hungry during a time of terrible drought. We also adorn the altar–which has 3 tiers or levels to represent the Holy Trinity–with candles, along with notes of gratitude or prayers to St. Joseph.

My local UNICO chapter gathers together each year for a St. Joseph’s Day dinner, and my favorite dish is Pasta con Sarde. It’s spaghetti with sardines and bread crumbs, and it is a traditional choice for St. Joseph’s Day because the bread crumbs represent sawdust, which was an ever-present thing in the life of St. Joseph, who was a carpenter.

I know for most people, March is all about celebrating St. Patrick. While I do enjoy the “wearing o’ the green”, La Festa di San Giuseppe will always hold a special place in my heart.

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