Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Joseph. This was always a very important holiday on our family’s calendar. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of Italy, the homeland of my ancestors.
Also, my great-grandfather, grandfather, father, brother, nephew, cousin, and cousin’s son were all named…you guess it, Joseph. Calling “Joe” at a family function caused many heads to turn in response.
When my grandfather was still alive we’d gather at his home on the feast day for coffee and what we called Saint Joseph Day cakes. They were a softer form of cannoli with fillings of ricotta, vanilla or chocolate and topped with a cherry.
The entire extended family would gather to celebrate the Josephs with the focus on my father and grandfather. Even when my cousins and I had grown and were attending commuter colleges or working, we wouldn’t think of not visiting with Grandpop on his day.
One year I had an appointment scheduled for the evening of St. Joseph’s Day that I couldn’t cancel. So, I played hooky from work and went down to have lunch with my grandparents – a mid-day celebration. I went with my Grandfather to the local bakery to buy the special cakes. The line, which snaked around the block, drew the attention of a local television station.
My grandfather, ever proud of his granddaughter, thrust me into the microphone for a televised interview around the importance of this feast day for Italian Americans.
“Thanks, Grandpop, for exposing me on television,” I thought at the time. But it turned out to be another funny story that only the two of us shared.
So, belated happy feast day to all of the Josephs out there. I’d love to hear about your family traditions!