St Joseph’s Table in Italy
TAVOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE
|Bella Nonna Vata|
I first heard about this tradition in Puglia, Italy. Yle with Yltour.com www.yltourcongressi.com arranged for me to learn to make pasta with una nonna, (a grandmother) at her home one morning.
While she was correcting my ‘lack of skill” on the 4th type we were making, her grand daughter Debora (my translator) explained that on St. Josephs’ day March 19, all the families in the village would spend days making pasta. So much pasta that they had to use the beds in the house to lay it out to dry!
I expected to hear about the pre easter processions when I asked Yle Sambati about Easter in Lecce. I was surprised when she mentioned san Giovani tavola as the most unusual event in Puglia.
I had never heard of it and after a quick search on line, remembered Nonna Vata’s story.
|The containers of oil have a story all their own the Debora shared with me.|
Growing up in New Jersey I never heard of it. But I recently saw it mentioned in several Italian American newspapers and even The Sons Of Italy magazine. As I asked my Italian contacts about SGT, they replied they never heard of it or didn’t practice the tradition.
Did your family observe St Joseph’s day? Did your Italian village follow any of the rituals that were explained to me? Keep reading…. what USA holiday does it remind you of?
| c: On the top of the big round bread, you can see a small ball of bread : this is a
PUCCIA di San Giuseppe
Gathered from many sources I have pieced together what I think the tradition entails and how some towns and villages practice the ‘gift of sharing’. Much is lost in the translation but share with me if you have more information… With the help of Yle, Debora and Google I have an idea of how St. Josephs’ day is celebrated.
In Giuggianello, a residents says “the tradition is that few of the old women from the village start to prepare a lot of food from prior to the special day, March 19. There is a huge table prepared in the main square of the village and everyone is invited to take a dish, bread and whatever they want. It is like a huge banquet”.
The bread with the boiled egg on top is
called Cuddhura A religious statue is present for this event
You can see the bread but also the small typical “light” that families still use (to remember) their dead relatives and saints in the house. It’s a special light made with water, olive oil and a special flower that can “burn” the oil, producing the light: http://officinaverde.altervista.org/botanica/index2.php?nome=lumino_greco
|The bread in the baskets are the Puccia that are shared with all visitors|
Debora sent me an email that they received a Puccia today from another family from the village and ‘it will go like that for the next weeks, too much bread”
There is so much more to tell I shall need another post! See the story of Easter 2012 at bit.ly/Yeb6y0