The tradition of celebrating St. Joseph's Day started centuries ago in Sicily. A great multi year drought had left the island in famine and the residents prayed to the Patron Saint of Sicily, St. Joseph, to relieve the drought. The drought did end and a bountiful harvest ensued. In grateful appreciation of this bounty, the landowners invited everyone to their homes to enjoy a lavish meal in celebration and appreciation to St. Joseph!
Today St. Joseph's Day celebrations invite guests for a St. Joseph's altar and feast, and encourages them to make a contribution to those in need. In appreciation and gratitude for our blessings we invite you to participate in a St. Joseph's Day celebration to support those who are less fortune than us.
St. Joseph Day Facts:
1. St. Joseph is the patron saint of Sicily and The Diocese of Buffalo.
2. St. Joseph's Day is widely celebrated by the Italian community.
3. The altar, also known as "St. Joseph's Table" or "la tavola di San Giuseppe," is an important part of the ceremony. It is decorated with flowers, candles, wine and some "lucky" foods.
4. Meat is usually left off the altar since St. Joseph's Day takes place during Lent. Instead, believers feast on fish and other seafood.
5. Breadcrumbs as opposed to cheese are usually incorporated into dishes. They represent sawdust, which commemorates Joseph's job as a carpenter. They could also represent the dry earth during the draught.
6. Fava beans are "lucky" since they survived during a draught in Italy during the middle Ages when nothing else did. St. Joseph, through God, saved worshipers from the draught, some believe.
7. Lemons are also thought to be good luck on this day. A side fact: If a woman looking to get married steals a lemon from the altar, it will help her find a husband.