If all that St. Patrick’s Day celebrating left you green around the gills, you may not be ready for the next celebration.
Just two days after the wearin’ and drinkin’ of the green, many Italian-American families St. Joseph's Day, on March 19, a unique tradition celebrated with food and donations to the needy.
In Christian religions, St. Joseph is known as the spouse of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Through his intercessions with the Lord, Sicilians were saved from famine.
I’ve seen many celebrations with people from all religions and ethnicities that celebrate the day by creating a big altar--S t. Joseph's Table—covered with food contributed by everyone dedicated to the saint. Adorned with bread in the shape of a cross, other typical dishes include typically include meatless recipes: minestrone soup, pasta with breadcrumbs, fish, lentils, stuffed artichokes, breads, sfinge (think of a ball of puffed fried dough with powdered sugar), honey balls, and fava beans and an orange.
Why fava beans?
They’re considered lucky because the fava bean crop thrived while other crops failed during the drought. Many feast tables are decorated with a stalk of lily blossoms, votive candles and a lace cloth.
Many area restaurants, churches and community centers will be feeding the masses on the 19th: Gigi’s Cucina Povera, Templeton Landing, Ilio DiPaolo’s, Frank’s Sunny Italy, Militello’s, Tappo, The Armory, Sinatra’s among others.
Several celebrations benefit needy families in the community.