Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph's Day...

Pasta con sarde

My father’s name was Joseph and he never failed to celebrate his saint’s name day. I recall how he made a big deal out of it like it was his birthday. He always considered it a special day. I had forgotten all about this until I was talking to some people of Italian decent and they started wishing me a Happy St. Joseph’s Day. Then memories of my father came flooding back to me.

I can still see him preparing the special St. Joseph’s Day meal in the kitchen or our small apartment, for himself. My mother was never into “saint’s days” and she never got involved with his cooking. When my dad cooked something, it was always for himself She wouldn’t even taste it. The special dish for St. Jospeh’s Day is “pasta con sarde” or pasta with sardines and fresh fennel. He would go out to the fish store and buy the sardines and bring them home to clean and cook. All the while he was cooking, he was laughing and anticipating this delicious meal. This big celebration of St. Joseph is mainly a Sicilian thing. And, we were taught to wear red. My father brought many cultural things here with him, when he immigrated here after marrying my mother.

“St. Joseph's Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick's Day.” 

There weren’t many things that made my dad happy. He was a simple man. He worked and provided for his family. He enjoyed a good meal. I hope he is having his pasta con sarde today, in heaven. I love you dad.


  1. Happy St. Joseph's Day. That meal looks yummy

  2. My father is also Sicilian and named Joseph. He says we're from Messina, Sicily.

  3. Thank you Amy! Linda, our family came from Castellvetrano, a city about two hours or so from Palermo. I visited there one year when I was 10 years old. I'm glad I got to see where my dad grew up and the land he worked on for his father.

  4. ah, I was thinking we might have been neighbors!