March 19 is celebrated as St. Joseph’s Day, dedicated to the husband of Virgin Mary and stepfather to Jesus Christ. The day is mostly marked by Italian-Americans by wearing red and comes just two days after St. Patrick’s Day.
This year, the feast day falls Monday when the Italian community among Catholics will come together to celebrate the festivity, also known as San Guiseppe. St. Joseph’s Day is much about food and sharing it with the needy. Lemons, for instance, are considered lucky while meat is typically absent. Pastries are very popular on the day and people also indulge in zeppole (doughnuts) and sfinge (cream puffs). Dry breadcrumbs are a traditional topping for some dishes. For decorations, flowers like lilies and white carnations are picked.
St. Joseph’s Day is extremely popular in New Orleans, where there are many descendants of Sicilian immigrants who came to Louisiana in the 19th century.
It is believed St. Joseph saved Sicily after it was struck by a terrible famine. This day was marked to honor the saint because of whom the famine ended.
Below are some quotes about St. Joseph’s Day.
1. “He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.’ ” — St. Bernardine of Siena
2. “St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux
3. “We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father. The Holy Scriptures speak of him as the father of Jesus. ‘His father and mother were marveling at the things spoken — concerning Him’ (Luke 2:33). Mary also used this name: ‘in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee’ (Luke 2:48). If, then, the King of Kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to endeavor to honor him as much as we can.” — St. Alphonsus Liguori
4. “Some saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.” — St. Thomas Aquinas