March 19. St. Joseph’s Day. Everyone knows that, right?
Wait, didn’t I just write those words? No, no – that was March 17. St. Patrick’s Day. Today is St. Joseph’s Day. As in St. Joseph, patron saint of Sicily.
Stacy, panicked in Paris (Is Stacy ever not panicked?): Heidi, can you go to a St. Joseph’s altar and get me a Lucky Bean? I can’t find mine!
Heidi, from Louisiana (Calm, as always): What’s a Lucky Bean?
Stacy: Heidi! You know! It’s one of those giant beans that you keep in your coin purse! You know! You get them at church on St. Joseph’s Day. You know! So that you always have money in your purse!
Heidi: Ok. Can I get one for myself if I’m not Catholic?
Phew! Does everyone have a Heidi Sue? If not, everyone should.
In the late 1800’s a wave of immigrants from Italy and Sicily brought the tradition of St. Joseph’s Day altars to New Orleans. In celebration, churches (and some individuals) host the altars, whereby the ladies of the parish prepare Italian dishes, bring them to the church (or home) where a great feast ensues.
My great-great-grandfather was one of those Sicilian immigrants, so St. Joseph’s Day was always a big deal in my mother’s family. My great-grandmother hosted an altar every year in her French Quarter home, and her altar is featured in the book Gumbo Ya-Ya.
Knowing me well, Heidi gave me the book St. Joseph Altars for my birthday, and it depicts many of the beautiful altars that can be found around New Orleans on March 19.
With no St. Joseph altars in my town, to celebrate this special day, I’ve decided to make my own altar tradition. I’m starting small – Roll-Out Cookies with an Italian twist: aniseed. You just can’t have St. Joseph’s Day cookies without anise. You just can’t!
I wish y’all a Happy, Healthy, Cookie-Filled St. Joseph’s Day!
Oh yes, I know about St. Joseph’s Day Stacy. My two eldest children went to St. Joseph’s Primary School when they were little and they always enjoyed the celebrations on the day. I haven’t heard of the aniceed cookies though (perhaps because it’s your tradition?) They sound very nice! 🙂
I think the anise cookies are an Italian-American tradition….I think. ❤
Oh,, the church I grew up in was called St. Joseph the Worker, church! I vaguely remember this tradition, but it wasn’t one we followed being Irish Catholic. You learn something new every day! I do love those anise seed cookies, though. I remember those! ha ha! xx
They’re my favorite! ❤
Wow, that is fascinating! I didn’t realise that this day was celebrated in New Orleans. I bet your cookies tasted just as good as they looked. I didn’t know about the ‘fève magique’ tradition – sounds good.
I did, however, know that today is St. Joseph’s feast day because St. Joseph happens to be the saint you are supposed to ask to help you to sell your house! 🙂
Yes, I’ve heard that tradition, Christine. In fact, I put a statue of St. Joseph in the window when we were trying to sell our house back during the oil bust several years ago. Fait accompli! ❤
Happy St. Joseph’s Day to you! I want a lucky bean! You are a lucky bean…you are, Stacy.
I don’t know if I’m lucky or not, Kathy, but I’m certainly a bean. And if I ever get down to NOLA again on St. Joseph’s Day, I’ll be sure to pick one up for you. ❤
Thanks, Tracey. I’m having a quiet St. Joseph’s with Norm and Beau-Beau. ❤
El Guapo said:
Happy St Josephs!
You get to eat the cookies later, right?
No, not later, Guap…..now. 🙂