The feast day for St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus, is March 19th.
During medieval times, according to legend, there was a terrible famine in Sicily. The villagers prayed for St. Joseph to intercede for them, to ensure successful crops. Their prayers were answered and the famine ended. To show their gratitude to God and St. Joseph, the villagers prepared a special feast of thanksgiving. This celebration became a tradition where families prepared huge buffets, often inviting the less fortunate people of the village.
Today many Catholic churches prepare “St. Joseph Tables” to honor St. Joseph. Often the table is a three-tiered display, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. A statue of St. Joseph is placed on the top tier; a special smaller table is set for the Holy Family at the front of the display. Many symbols are found on a St. Joseph’s Table: bread crumbs on spaghetti represent sawdust on a carpenter’s workshop floor; white lilies symbolize transformation and purity. Breads may be baked in the shapes of carpenter’s tools, canes or chalices and 12 fish represent the 12 apostles.Minestras, very thick soups, are often made of fava beans. Since fava beans survived the Sicilian drought and saved the people from starvation, blessed fava beans are often given out at St. Joseph’s Tables.
St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers and in some Catholic countries, notably Italy, Portugal and Spain, Fathers’ Day is celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day. Wish someone a Blessed St. Joseph’s Day with a card from The Printery House.