Will Wilson on Italian Food…

Whenever I think of Italian food I immediately think of celebrations, usually weddings and baptisms. There’s always so much food that many guests leave with doggie bags of their favorites. One of my favorite celebrations is St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, which always includes a St. Joseph’s Table.


Tradition has it, that during the Middle Ages Sicily faced a severe famine and the very poor had nothing but their faith to rely on. St. Joseph is known as the protector of the Holy Family, so it was to him they prayed to intercede on their behalf and end the famine.


In gratitude, when their prayers were answered and the famine ended, the people promised to make annual offerings of their most precious possession – food – in St. Joseph’s honor.


Since this feast day occurs during the season of Lent, tables set up in his honor include meatless dishes such as stuffed artichokes, pasta and fish, as well as breads, cookies, pastries, cakes and other delicacies.

 When you visit a St. Joseph’s Table, you often receive gifts of fava beans and breads. Fava beans play an integral part of the celebration because this was the food that saved the Sicilians from starvation. The bean is said to bring good luck, and it is believed that if the St. Joseph’s bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve.

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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