The History of St. Joseph’s Day

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The Feast of St. Joseph, also known as St. Joseph’s Day, is the celebration of Joseph of Nazareth, who is believed by Christians to be the husband of the Virgin Mary and “foster” father of Jesus Christ.

Although St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated on a small scale here in the United States, St. Joseph’s Day is actually celebrated by masses all over the world, with different cultures having unique twists and traditions on the holiday. For example, in Italy, Spain and Portugal, St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated on the same day as Father’s Day.

In Sicily, people celebrate by wearing red, indulging themselves with doughnuts and crème puffs, and building a “St. Joseph’s Table.” The St. Joseph’s Table is meant to be an altar of sorts and is decorated with flowers, candles, wine and foods that are considered to be “lucky”.

Fava beans, lemons, and breadcrumbs are a few of the typical food items that you would find on “St. Joseph’s Table”. Fava beans were considered lucky because they were the only food source to survive a terrible drought that ravished Italy hundreds of years ago, and the breadcrumbs were incorporated into recipes as a representation of St. Joseph’s trade (he was a carpenter).

One of the largest St. Joseph celebrations in the US takes place in New Orleans. During the late 1800’s, a large Sicilian population immigrated and settled there, and the holiday is celebrated by the whole city via a variety of street parades and marching band performances. Similar to their European counterparts, the participants in New Orleans build St. Joseph’s Tables as well. However, their food options typically have more of a Cajun twist to them. St. Joseph’s Day is also traditionally celebrated in many other cities across the country, particularly the ones that have large Italian populations like NYC, Jersey City, Chicago, Providence, Kansas City and St. Louis.

So, move over St. Patrick’s Day, because St. Joseph’s Day is almost here and we’re going to show you how we patty!

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