Friday, March 8, 2013

St. Joseph Day!

A St. Joseph's altar. Image provided by flickr.
Although March 19 is the official feast day of St. Joseph's, his presence is already felt throughout the city. I was first introduced to St. Joseph's feast day while I was in third grade at St. Stephens Elementary school. The principal would make an announcement inviting all to contribute to the school's St. Joseph's altar. The St. Joseph's altar was absolutely magnificent. The altar was draped in green and white and was lavishly decorated with various figures and food. Personally, I couldn't get over the fact that there was free food! But there is a reason for the tradition. In Sicily during a time of a great drought and poor season, the people prayed to St. Joseph in a cry for help. The prayers were answered as rain opened up on the field and restored the growing season. In return, the people rejoiced and made altars in dedication to St. Joseph. The altars were lined with food and harvest that the people had gather. Since then, the St. Joseph's altar tradition have been kept and relived every year. It is not only exclusive to Italians but has been opened to all Catholics. Also at St. Stephens, they distributed "lucky beans" to the students and teachers. I never knew the purpose of it and I always attempted to grow them in my backyard. After a quick browsing, I found that the beans are associated with St. Joseph. They serve as a reminder to the famine and St. Joseph's intercession. The beans are claimed to bring great fortune and prosperity. If you found this interesting, you can visit a St. Joseph altar or attend the St. Joseph's Parade tomorrow (Saturday, Mar. 9.). Click here to check out the parade route or here to see the full article.

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