St. Joseph’s Day tradition and fun facts are always one of my favorite things to talk about! This holiday always knows the way to my heart, which happens with Zeppole each year at Gene & Georgetti 🤩. I have blogged about this feast day before because it is one of my favorites! To read one of my favorite posts, click here!
What is the feast of St. Joseph? I am so glad you asked!! {our lezione del giorno!) St. Joseph’s Day is a Roman Catholic feast day commemorating the life of the stepfather of Jesus and husband of Mary. This day is celebrated each year on March 19. Many people — especially those of Italian descent — observe the day as a holiday.
The first mention of something resembling a zeppole comes from an Egyptian traveler in Tunisia around 1460. He wrote of something called mujabbana. The description of a fried dough filled with cheese and sprinkled with sugar is similar to zeppole. (One of each, please!).
In the early 1800’s a baker from Naples, Pasquale Pintauro, popularized the custom of eating zeppole on Saint Joseph’s Day. However, Pasquale’s sweet treat probably more closely resembled the sfogliatella, which has a must crispier crust. (Still, one of each!) 🤣

St. Joseph Day traditions and history

The Saint Joseph’s Day celebrations are especially festive in Sicily. Here, Saint Joseph is credited with saving Sicily from starvation in the Middle Ages. To mark the occasion, many Sicilians eat fava beans which are in season in mid-March.On the island of Malta, there are lots of fireworks and processions featuring Jum San Ġużepp.In Spain, Saint Joseph’s Day is celebrated as Father’s Day. Children cook breakfast for their fathers. This meal is usually vegetarian because the holiday normally falls during Lent.
Several U.S. cities, especially New York City, Chicago, and Providence, RI, celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day. But, New Orleans may have may have the biggest celebration of all. Here, something called Saint Joseph altars are built. Tables are set up in public and private spaces and filled with food to honor Joseph. The next day, the Joseph altars are taken down and the food is given to charity. St. Joseph history and fun facts are one of my most favorite things to share about!
So, happy day to all who celebrate, and come find Zeppole today at Gene & Georgetti!

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