In Italy, March 19 is the Feast of St. Joseph – Festa del San Giuseppe - or Festa del Papa – Father’s Day. A celebration of fathers, obviously. But also so much more.
It is said that during the Middle Ages, there was a terrible drought in Sicily and when the people prayed to San Giuseppe to help them, he sent rain. Rains helped the springtime crops and flowers grow and the people prepared a large banquet in gratitude, inviting all to eat as much as they wished.
This tradition exists to this day. Bread ornaments adorn the altar and, in addition to being the patron saint of fathers and carpenters, San Giuseppe is the patron saint of pastry chefs and (unofficially) of fava beans. Family, food, and spring - yet another holy trinity.
On our last day in Italy a few weeks ago, we stumbled into this humble little church in Orvieto and were delighted to discover it is the Church of St. Joseph:
St. Joseph is special to us for several reasons. Tom’s father was Joseph and everyone who knew him says that Tom is the spitting image (in spirit and looks) of his father.
I also think of my brother, father to three wonderful children, who has been a carpenter for decades. He makes his money talking with people but crafting in wood has long been a gift he has shared with us all.
And just as I finish this post, word comes that Jim Schneider, father to my sister and brother, passed this morning.
Go in Peace, JimDad. Your work here is done.
Miei cari amici, celebrate today. Celebrate Spring, celebrate life. Celebrate the gifts that feed and sustain us. Celebrate builders, carpenters, carvers, contractors, artisans, bakers, and cooks. Celebrate fathers.
Wishing you a full heart on this Festa del San Giuseppe.
Tell me, what do you think you might do on this day to celebrate? And who, in particular, might you want to wish a buona Festa del San Giuseppe to?
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I'm sorry for your loss, Jan! I am sure he was a great person.
Also, that church looks so beautiful! Thank you for this interesting article, I am always eager to learn about new traditions and celebration days.
Very sorry for your loss, Jan. That church you found is a hidden gem.