Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Festa Di San Giuseppe or Saint Joe's Day Festival

Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus
by Guido Reni, c 1635 
     Many people know of St. Patrick's Day, and they are probably still feeling the impact of their celebration today. However a lesser known celebration occurs on March 19th. The Festa Di San Giuseppe or St. Joe's Day honors Joseph of Nazareth.
     St. Patrick's Day involves eating irish food, wearing green, and a wee bit of drinking. Festa Di San Giuseppe is primarily an Italian celebration. People wear red, and eat rather than drink, but some red wine may be consumed.
     Since San Giuseppe falls during lent, traditionally people served vegetarian food. I'm not sure this tradition continues today. The foods also contained fava beans. In the middle ages, fava beans were a major protein source for Italian families.
     The meal is followed by a pastry called zeppole. Deep fried bread dough sprinkled with confectionary sugar, and filled with ricotta cheese. Although today, they also contain jelly or cream filling.


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