Saint Joseph’s Day is also known as the Feast of St. Joseph Day and celebrated on the 19th of March every year. Christians believe that St. Joseph was the husband of Blessed Virgin Mary and the step-father of Jesus Christ. In Poland and Canada, it is a patronal feast day and is Father’s day in some Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain and Portugal. Peoples celebrate St. Joseph Day from the 10th century and this custom were established in Rome by 1479.
Customs Of The Day
St. Joseph day is a big feast for Italians because, during the middle ages, Sicilians are suffering from drought then they requested their patron saint St. Joseph to pray to god for them and they decided if God will listen to their prayers they will honor St. Joseph with a proper banquet. Sure enough, he answered their prayers. In return, they feasted on local food such as Fava Beans, which thrived after the rain, as well as many sweets, Since the feast occurs in the middle of Lent, it is a meatless celebration.
Different Italians regions celebrate this day differently, they involve special food; minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs in some reason seafood also used in the table of the feast.
The table of the feast will be divided into three tiers symbolizing the holy trinity. The first one will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers. The other tiers might hold flowers, candles, bread and pastries shaped like a monstrance, fishes, dove, baskets etc.; 12 fishes symbolize the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizes the miracle at Cana; Pineapple symbolizes hospitality; Lemons for luck; bread and wine symbolize the last supper.
Here are the Recipes of the Day You Can Try-
Minestrone Alla Tucciarone (serves 10)
4 TBSP olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
6 cups vegetable stock*
Large can diced tomatoes and its juice
Large can crushed tomatoes and its juice
Large jar Great Northern Beans or Cannellini Beans, undrained
2 small zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 summer squash, quartered and sliced
1 can corn, undrained — optional
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach — optional
2 TBSP chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp. dried) — approx.
1 TBSP chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried) — approx.
2 TBSP chopped fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried) — approx.
1 TBSP fennel seeds, approx., to taste (this is key)
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Provolone and grated Parmesan for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
Over medium-low heat, in a large pot, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes (do not let brown!). Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat to low and add beans, corn (if using), spinach (if using), zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Simmer an hour. Ladle soup into bowls, and add cooked pasta (if desired). Sprinkle cheeses on top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread. Better the next day.
Pasta di San Giuse (pasta with breadcrumbs that symbolize sawdust)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 cups chopped fresh fennel
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh basil
- 4 cans of drained, skinless, boneless sardines
Heat oil in large pot, and saute in it the garlic and pepper flakes. Add the fennel, tomatoes, paste, and basil. Cover and let simmer 30 minutes ’til fennel is tender. Add the sardines and simmer a few more minutes.
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 cup fine homemade breadcrumbs
Heat oil, and add crumbs and heat until golden brown. Pour sauce over the pasta, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 TBSP sugar
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup sifted flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 TBSP Cognac or vanilla
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup grated dark chocolate
- 2 TBSP finely chopped pistachios
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon rind
Put water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon rind, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and as soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly and with vigor.
Return the pan to the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture forms a ball and comes away from the sides of the pan. Cook just a little longer until you hear a slight crackling, frying sound. Remove the pan from the heat, and cool slightly.
Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure that each egg is thoroughly blended into the mixture before you add the next. Stir until smooth and thoroughly blended. Add the Cognac or vanilla. Cover the dough and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonsful on a buttered cookie sheet or onto a parchment-lined sheet (better!), leaving 2 inches between the sfinge. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
Filling: Mix the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and pistachios. Just before serving (so they don’t get soggy!), cut off the tops of the sfinge and fill; place the top back on after filling. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with powdered sugar to make them pretty, and garnish platter with lemon rind.
- 1 lb. dried fava beans
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook dried fava beans in boiling water until tender, adding more water as needed. Sauté seasonings in olive oil ’til tender, then add to beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in soup bowls.