San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s) Day
The Sicilian-Italian tradition to honor St. Joseph on March 19 has become a day of celebrating all fathers. On this day, in Italy, people wish Tanti auguri to their own father and grandpa, and in general Tanti auguri a tutti i papà, all the best to all fathers! Saint Joseph is considered the ideal symbol of the father figure: good, hardworking, understanding and able to raise the Son of God. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of many aspects of life. He is the patron saint of the Universal Church, fathers, unborn children, travelers, immigrants, families, day laborers, workmen, and a happy death.
There is a beautiful Sicilian-Italian tradition to honor St. Joseph with a “St. Joseph’s Table” . Through his intercession the people were saved from starvation due to a prolonged drought. So they honor him with a bountiful feast. Sicilian-Italian immigrants brought this tradition to America where we can see these amazing St. Joseph’s Tables on display. You can make your own at home or look to see if you can visit a St. Joseph’s Table in your community. Many Italian community groups (community centers), Italian businesses, local churches, colleges or museums often sponsor an event honoring St. Joseph’s Day. The DiCamillo Bakery in Western New York has a webpage showing all of the interesting specialized St. Joseph’s Day breads they prepare. Little Italy in nearby Baltimore has events too.
Here is a talk about three things we can learn from the life of St. Joseph: St. Joseph’s Side of the Story
With this tradition of all fathers being celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day throughout Sicilian and Italian homes many families prepare special meals and treats. One that is traditionally made is the Zeppole di San Giuseppe, St. Joseph’s Pastries. Christina’s Cucina has a good recipe for these pastries. These are delightful Italian cream puffs that are slightly sweet with a cherry on top. A great addition to any celebration. The tradition of these Italian doughnuts can be attributed to the saint because it is said that Joseph, during his flight to Egypt to escape the terrible King Herod, was forced to sell a kind of doughnut to provide for his family.
For more ideas and ways to celebrate St. Joseph see our previous post March is Dedicated to St. Joseph. In addition our Lent Resources St. Joseph of Nazareth section includes other ways to learn more about St. Joseph.