St. Joseph Day Table
Every year, the DiGiovanni clan, some 200 strong, come together for a family reunion; they all wear red, from the greatest to the least. Part of this celebration is a St. Joseph's Day Table, which provides much home made food, for everyone.
San Rocco, too, has had its own St. Joseph Day Table, sometimes on the same day as the DiGiovanni gathering. The feast of St. Joseph falls on March 19; but the St. Joseph's Day Table usually takes place on the weekend, regardless of the exact date of the feast.
This celebration is said to be unknown in much of Sicily and in southern Italy. There, St. Joseph's Day is an occasion for merchants from Tunisia and Libya to show up and sell their wares in the streets. The St. Joseph's Day Table is said to be an Italian American custom, centered, to be sure, on having a good meal. Why not?
Others say the custom goes back to the Middle Ages, when a severe drought afflicted much of Sicily. Many died of famine. When the rains came, and thereafter a good harvest, people celebrated with a big meal. For generations after that, some individuals prayed for a special favor and in return promised to host a St. Joseph's Day Table in his honor, in thanksgiving. No doubt those people who knew of the custom back in Sicily made it known in the U.S., especially in the Italian diaspora.
In any case, St. Joseph's Day occurs within the Octave of March 17. That alone should give occasion for celebration.