St. Joseph Day is celebrated on the 19th of March. St Joseph Day has been the Feast of St. Joseph in Western Christianity since the tenth century. St. Joseph was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the stepfather of Jesus Christ. It is the Patronal Feast Day for Poland and Canada. It is also known as Father’s day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal, and Italy. This custom of celebrating was established in Rome by 1479.
History of St Joseph Day
Joseph the stepfather of Jesus Christ married Mary and later discovered that she was pregnant. Even after knowing that he was not his child he doesn’t want to harm him so he sent Mary away. Later he brought Mary back because an Angel came in his dream explaining that the child Mary carrying inside of her was conceived from the Holy Spirit. There is no mention of Joseph in the Bible after Hejus’ s birthday but it is believed that Joseph died before Jesus his began living his life as an adult.
Symbols and customs
On this day Roman Catholics exchange baked bread, fruits, and grains along with the images of a saint. They are a symbol of fertility or abundance.
The Sicilian homes on St. Joseph’s Day displays the special food related to the festival. Fish is a favorite choice because this day falls during Lent, during this time the meat is forbidden. They ate fish may be as a symbol of fertility. The fish is also a symbol of baptism just as the fish can’t live without water, the true Christian cannot live except through the water of baptism.
According to the legends, An angel told priest Zacharius to gather all widowers and instructing them to bring their rod with them. Joseph appeared there with the rest and they placed their rod overnight in the hope that God will give them some sign to show that which of them he favored. Next day god gave a sign by bursting Joseph’s rod into a flower and dove flew out of it.
Popular customs among Christian of various liturgical traditions observing Saint Joseph day are attending mass or the Divine Service, wearing red -colored clothing, carrying dried fava beans that have been blessed, and assembling home altars dedicated to Saint Joseph.
In Sicily, on this day they thank Saint Joseph for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to the legend, when people were facing drought, the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised if God answered their prayers they will organize a big feast to honor him. The fava beans were the crop that saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of Saint Joseph’s day.
In Spain, it is known as Father’s day, which is called El Dia del Padre. They inspired from the example of what a father should be like. In Spain, it is a tradition for children for children to cook their Father’s breakfast or even give gifts.
In Poland it is known as Namesday, the feast day one’s patron saint. Polish families celebrate this day by setting up a table with red and white for Poland and Saint Joseph. They place holy cards and candles all around and meatless food which they call”festive fast”.