The St. Joseph Altar is an old tradition from Sicily. You can click here to read an explanation of how the tradition started. There are three tiers to the altar, representing the Trinity and the three members of the Holy Family; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Usually a statue or picture of St. Joseph is placed on the top tier.
I had been so pre-occupied planning for all the various events we had scheduled over the weekend that I really hadn't put any thought into celebrating St. Joseph's Day this year, other than picking up a package of fig newtons and some cream puffs during my last grocery shopping trip. Thankfully everything just fell into place and the kids set up and decorated the altar, while I started preparing the food. It was such a nice evening, though we all missed Daddy, and wished he could be home to enjoy our special meal in honor of St. Joseph, patron of Fathers.
We didn't include all of the Foods for St. Joseph's Altar on our own family altar this year, but here are some pictures and descriptions of the foods that we did enjoy for our dinner and St. Joseph's Day celebration today.
.: Traditional Breads in Symbolic Shapes :.
The breads found on the St. Joseph altar are usually shaped as all sorts of symbols. The Lily, Ladder, Hammer, Nail, Saw, Sandals, Cane or Staff, are all symbols for St. Joseph. Other symbols include the cross, palm, grapes, wreaths, and twists for Our Lord.
For these I just defrosted a bag of frozen dinner rolls and the kids had so much fun shaping symbols with the dough.
.: Symbolic Fig Filled Pastries :.
Usually these shaped Pastries are inedible and symbolize the monstrance, chalice, cross, dove, lambs, fish, bible, hearts, etc.
We purchased a package of Fig Newtons and made some quick and easy "bibles" to add to our St. Joseph Altar. Behind the cookies is a beautiful holy card that one of the "Uncle Fathers" gave the boys, while visiting us following a retreat he gave for the Carmelites in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. The Carmelites made this holy card, as well as some lovely St. Therese holy cards he brought for the girls, by using dried rose petals from their convent to frame the images of the saints. The back of this particular card reads:
However many saints you have as your intercessors, be especially devoted to Saint Joseph, who can obtain a great deal from God.
.: Mudica (Breadcrumbs) and Pasta :.
Breadcrumbs represent St. Joseph the Carpenter's sawdust and are served over pasta.
We made my Mom's/Grandmother's Garlic Spaghetti, topping it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
.: Twelve Whole Fish :.
The twelve fish represent the twelve apostles or the miracle of loaves and fishes.
I had a package of Breaded Cod in the freezer which we included for our St. Joseph's Day fish.
.: Wine and Fruit :.
This is a reminder of the vineyards and orchards of Sicily.
We didn't exactly have wine, but my kids were more than happy that I finally let them have the bottles of Sparkling Cider and Peach Grape Spritzer that have been chilling in the fridge. Captain also filled up a basket with some fruit and a vase with some chocolate lilies, which also symbolize St. Joseph.
.: Traditional Italian Treats :.
These were picked up at the store...
Frittelle di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Fritters)
... and you can find the recipe for these yummy little things over at Catholic Cuisine.
.: Enjoying the Feast :.
March 19th is also exactly 3 months since this sweet little one arrived!
St. Joseph, Pillar of families, Pray for us!