St. Joseph's Day Demo


Demonstrated by Mary Rose Torcello Ethington

Sponsored in part by the GLOW Traditions program

Sunday March 11, 2018 from 1-3pm.

Cost is $10 per person.

Mary Rose has been making St. Joseph's Day bread for many years and has been helping with Tables in Pavilion and East Bethany.  For this demonstration you will get to taste samples of the traditional breads, watch a form being made and take home a small sample. 

Click the link below to get your ticket to this fun, cultural event!

St. Joseph's Day Demo Tickets


 March 19, the date on which the Roman Catholic Church honors Saint Joseph, is known by some in our communities as the day to enjoy a St. Joseph’s Table.  For many Sicilians and their Italian American descendents the creation of this grand meal and devotional altar is an inseparable part of their observance.  It continues to be a significant practice in several towns and cities in our region, and other New York locales like Utica, Buffalo and New York City. 

            Stories of the Table’s origin place it in the Middle Ages, when it is said that Sicily experienced a severe drought for an extended period sometime near the end of the 13th century.  No crops could grow, and people were dying of famine and disease.  The people prayed to God and asked St. Joseph, one of their patron saints, to intercede on their behalf and send rain.  Miraculously rain did come, crops were planted and grew. At the harvest time the people prepared an outdoor feast from their bounty in thanksgiving for answered prayers, which gained the name “Tavola de San Giuseppe.”  The meal was open to all people with a special welcome to travelers and strangers, to extend God’s compassion that had been shown to the hosts of the tavola.

The tradition grew and traveled to America with Italian immigrants, combining old and new elements.  In addition to honoring the saint, people might also pray for other needs or “favors” and sponsor a St. Joseph’s Table to show thanks when the requests were granted.  The petition, however, could not be for personal gain or benefit.  Common requests were (and are) for a safe return of a loved one from war, or cure and recovery from serious illness or accident.  While they retain common elements, the Tables feature regional variations in foods, displays, and format.  Some may be private celebrations with family; others may be sponsored by a church and open to the public.