This past weekend we had my parents and three families over for a traditional celebration of the Feast Day of St. Joseph.
Ten adults and nine children gathered around the table and stood behind their chairs.
1. The Feast Day of St. Joseph is an important celebration in southern Italy. According to legend, a great drought in Sicily led to a wide-spread famine, and in desperation the people prayed to St. Joseph asking for rain.
2. In their prayers, they promised that if He would send them rain, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily named San Giuseppe their Patron Saint.
3. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation, and even today it is considered good luck. It is believed that the pantry that contains even a single fava bean will never be bare, and it is a reminder of God’s provisions through the intercession of St. Joseph.
4. Today, during this feast day celebration, it is traditional to invite family and friends to share a meal together. It is also a time to give to the poor.
5. Part of the celebration includes an altar to St. Joseph, typically constructed with three tiers representing the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Notice that here, instead of three tiers, we have three tables.
6. The altar is decorated with candles, food, flowers, and bread.
7. Saint Joseph is considered the patron saint of fathers, carpenters, social justice, engineers, families, fathers, house hunters, and laborers.
8. His symbols are: carpenter’s tools such as saw, hammer, and nails; Bible, branch, sandals, and an old man holding the infant Jesus.
9. Now let's bow our heads for the blessing: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Pasta was the first course, which we sprinkled with a pinch of breadcrumbs to symbolize sawdust as a tribute to St. Joseph, the carpenter.
Then on to the second course . . .
The dinner is all about fellowship and sharing, so all the food is placed on the table and passed around. Bread is torn off in chunks from one of the many loaves scattered around the table.
Dessert was strawberries in lemon juice, biscotti, espresso, and birthday cake. The youngest of the nine children, we celebrated Timothy's 5th birthday . . . again.
Finally, everyone went away with a tiny gift bag containing a handful of fava beans and a prayer card to St. Joseph.
Now, go visit Cheryl for some more Makes My Monday fun.