Move over, St. Patrick - today is St. Joseph's Day. If you're a Joe, Josephine, Jose, Joanne, Josephina, Giuseppe, Beppe, Pepe, Pepito or Yousef... this is your day to feast. A tradition in Sicily, St. Joseph's Day celebrates the Patron Saint of Workers. His reverence in Sicily comes from a time of drought on the Island back during the Middle Ages.
The peasants prayed to God through St. Joseph, asking for rain. They promised that if the drought ended, they would fete both the Almighty Father and St. Joseph in an annual feast.
How shall we celebrate? Traditional foods include pastries - give zeppole or sfingi a try. Foods made with breadcrumbs are also traditional since the crumbs symbolize sawdust, a reference to the shavings of a carpenter and therefore St. Joseph who was a carpenter by trade. Breadcrumbs also resemble sand and dry soil, a nod to the drought suffered by the Sicilians which subsequently sparked the feast in honor of the Saint.
Fava beans, lemons and other citrus, pasta and bread will all be featured on la tavala di San Guiseppe (St. Joseph's table) today.
viva san giuseppe!
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