Festa di San Giuseppe

March 19, 2009 / Events
Marina di Ragusa
Festa di San Giuseppe, processionAfter Mass, on today’s Festa di San Giuseppe, a marching band leads the faithful through the town stopping at homes chosen to present “La Cena” where a prayer has been answered and gratitude deeply felt. With the help of family and friends, a table is set for the Holy Family (locals dress the part).

La Cena, Festa di San GiuseppeIf you are fortunate enough to have made a friend, a connection, you may enter, where an amazing feast, theatrical and yet profoundly religious, has been set with flowers, breads crafted into fantastic shapes, beautiful pastries and every Sicilian delicacy. Simple foods, elaborately decorated and filled with symbolism, represent the poverty of the Holy Family who soon arrives at the door.

Joseph knocks three times. “Chi è?” (who is it?) They ask. He responds: “We are Joseph, Mary and Jesus. May we come in and eat?” Solemnly they enter, are seated at the table and served. Only close family members remain. The rest, respectfully, head home to their own cena, a loaf of San Giuseppe bread waiting, a feeling of satisfaction lingering in the air.

Rosemary and Bob Connelly

by Rosemary and Bob Connelly

Artists who fulfilled their dream to “Live Cheap and Make Art” in Italy. Their website www.livecheapmakeart.com showcases their watercolors and photographs.

14 Responses to “Festa di San Giuseppe”

  1. Thank you for this great posting. I grew up in a family with many boys/men named Joseph and have a wonderful photo of my grandparent’s St. Joseph’s table in thanks for the safe return of my father from the war. My mom continued the tradition for many years and up until she passed on last year, she always sent cards to all the Josephs in the family.

  2. jojo

    Papa being named Giuseppe and I also (#2 son) have feasted such as this in Puglia with my zia Maria and zio Giuseppe (Joseph) ah but no Jesus!
    La Chiesa ‘Spano’ in Sicilia goes back to our ancestry, which has little to do with the food but adds to the conversation at the tabala (Gravina dialect) What a day ,what a feast what a people. jojo

  3. I love this website and can not wait to see the tidbit of the day. I very much love articles from Sicily since that is the part of Italy my mother is from.



  5. Grazie tutto,
    We were so honored to be invited to witness this very special day in Marina di Ragusa when we lived there. It’s very rewarding to see that this note and the photos were so well received.

  6. Joseph Amato

    There were four generations of “Joseph” in our family and March 19 was a very special day; it meant gifts of candy,sweets, and to this day flowers. The St. Joseph Day Table, offered for a favor received by one of our friends or relatives was an annual event. The fine laced dinner table filled with special pastas, meats, breads, and desserts, was an annual affair. I recall the Blessing offered by my youngest brother at an early age portraying Jesus, which went “Benedico la Tavola, Benedico, la Cena, Benedico tutti quanto, in nome del Padre, Figlio e Spirito Santo.”

  7. Giuseppe

    Thank you for this great posting. I grew up in Sicilia amd migrated to the USA many years ago. Our family still recognizes this special day with some special food. I fact I just got back from my sisters where they cooked such a meal. Our family have a few Giuseppe.
    Thank you so much for keeping this tradition alive.

    Ciao’ Giuseppe

  8. Barbara

    Look forward to St.Joseph’s day every year. Our local Italian bakery makes the special and delicious pastries only made at this time of year. Can you tell me why an orange is placed on the top of what appears to be a wine bottle in the last photo? I am not familiar with this and am curious as to its significance.

  9. Stephen Moscatello

    St Joseph is a very special day .To all that attented this years event Bravo!Marina di Ragusa is a very special place .As for us we have our Feast of St Joseph on March 31 at the San Silverio Shrine in Dover Plains N.Y. ,if anyone would like any info kindly go to our web site .SANSILVERIOSHRINE.ORG

  10. Michael Giannetti

    Beautiful (bella) to keep up these traditions,values,honor and religion.

  11. Kristina Kostopoulos

    While my Italian American family had no traditions for St. Joseph’s day, my father was a member of a VFW Post which was predominantly Sicilian. Each year my parents were totally involved in preparing the St. Joseph’s table. My Dad was a carpenter (like Joseph himself) so he constructed the altar and side tables. My Mom went with the other women to the neighborhood bakery and made the lovely breads shaped into various symbolic shapes. In the evenings just prior to the date our home was “frittata central” with both parents making dozens of frittatas with all sorts of vegetables, as well as plates upon plates of zucchini and cardoon misto.On the day of the table my parents arranged things on the altar and helped serve the special fish based spaghetti to the hundreds of visitors to the table. I have wonderful, fond memories of St. Joseph’s day!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your family traditions with italiannotebook.com and keeping these memories alive!


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