St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (2024)

St. Joseph’s Feast Day usually falls during Lent, and always falls on March 19. (He is actually one of the few saints to have two feast days – his other feast day is on May 1st and celebrates his role as St. Joseph the Worker).

St. Joseph’s March feast day is to celebrate his role as Jesus’ foster father and Mary’s spouse.

A favorite Italian tradition to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day is The St. Joseph Feast Day Table also known as St. Joseph’s Altar.

Today, I will describe how to set up and cook for your own St. Joseph’s Table to celebrate his feast day.

For more ideas on how to celebrate this wonderful feast day, be sure to check out my friend Jen’s post over at Eva to Ave!

Our St. Joseph plushie below is fromShining Light Dolls. The candle wraps and printables are fromCatholic Icing.

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (1)

Interesting Facts About Saint Joseph

Here are some fast facts to introduce you to St. Joseph:

  • He is the foster father of Jesus and was married to the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • He says no words or lines in the entire bible
  • An angel came to him in a dream to tell him that he would be the father of Jesus
  • He vision of an angel in his dream telling him to flee from Bethlehem since Herod planned to massacre all of the infants under 2 years old. He then fled to Egypt with Jesus and Mary.
  • He raised Jesus with Mary in Nazareth
  • He was a carpenter by trade and taught Jesus carpentry skills
  • He is the patron of fathers and of the family

Stations of the Cross and Stabat Mater Activity Book and Mini Books

Resources for praying the Stations of the Cross with children!

Italian Catholics especially love St. Joseph, and honor him with a St. Joseph’s Table (also known as a St. Joseph’s Altar).

The table is set up with multiple levels or tiers and LOTS of delicious Italian food and goodies. Many of the recipes are meatless in observance of the Lenten season, but there is usually an overabundance of food and fun for this feast.

The table is also all about almsgiving! Traditionally, no one should be turned away from the St. Joseph Table, and the poor were always invited to partake in the feast.

You can read more details about the beautiful history and symbolism of the table here.

How to create a St. Joseph Table

Creating the tiers for a St. Joseph table is simple.

Depending on how many people you plan to feed, you can use multiple tables, an entire table, or just part of your table.

The table top will be the lowest “level” to display your food. You can then use cardboard or wooden boxes to build higher steps or levels.

Many people like to have at least 3 levels to represent the Holy Trinity.

The table is usually also covered with white linens, but I have just used whatever tablecloths I have on hand in a pinch!

It is also traditional to include photos and statues of St. Joseph, as well as lilies (he is usually seen holding lilies to symbolize purity) or other springtime flowers. You can also add blessed candles and holy cards.

St. Joseph Feast Day Recipes

Now that you have prepared your display, it is time to make the food! You may wish to include any or all of the following on your table:

  • Bread baked into symbolic religious shapes such as a cross, a crown of thorns, a shepherd’s staff, a hammer, a fish, a “Bambino” (to symbolize baby Jesus, or even St. Joseph himself! For the bread, you can buy premade pizza dough from the store, shape it, sprinkle it with sesame seeds and bake it! I did this for our parish’s celebration of St. Joseph and it was a huge hit! You could also use a favorite pizza dough recipe. To make a cross, roll out 3 long, thin logs of dough and braid them. Then, cut a small piece off of the long braid to make the shorter piece of the cross. Lay the shorter piece on the longer piece. Then, brush the bread with milk, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and bake according to instructions. Baking times may vary.
  • Caprese Salad
  • Any favorite pasta dish: spaghetti and sauce, baked ziti, ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, stuffed shells, etc.

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (6)

  • Seafood Dishes: calamari, baked salmon, shrimp, scallops
  • St. Joseph’s Day breadcrumbsto put on top of thepasta dishes. The breadcrumbs represent sawdust since St. Joseph was a carpenter.

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (7)

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (8)

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (9)

St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (10)

Prayer to St. Joseph

Of course, no feast day is complete without a trip to Mass and plenty of prayer!

Here is a beautiful prayer to St. Joseph that you can pray for his protection over your family (from EWTN):

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,
before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart.
Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and
ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, patron of departing souls – pray for me.

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St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (11)

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St. Joseph Feast Day Table: Recipes for the Celebration (2024)


What do you eat on St. Joseph's day table? ›

Joseph's Day staples include eggplant Caponata, excellent for dipping with Italian bread, as well as Pasta con Sarde, Egg frittas, bean dishes, olives, fried smelts and especially lentils.

How to make a St. Joseph's table? ›

Special breads, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, pasta, wine and olives are all traditional items found on a St. Joseph's Table. But as it is Lent, omit any meats and cheeses. Arriving guests should place their items on or around the table.

What foods go on a St Joseph altar? ›

Food. Cookies, cakes, and breads, often in the form of shellfish, are common decorations for altars.

What do Polish people eat on St. Joseph's day? ›

It's common to see church banquet halls decorated in red and white with a statue of St. Joseph. A feast of Polish favorites like Makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, and Pierogi are enjoyed that day.

Can you eat meat on St. Joseph's feast day? ›

Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical observance. When a Solemnity falls on a Friday in Lent, Canon Law says abstinence from meat is not required. So it is okay to eat meat on St. Joseph's Day without violating the Lenten discipline.

What fruits and vegetables are usually found on a St. Joseph's altar? ›

The tradition of the St Joseph altar includes a table with three levels, symbolic of the Trinity, decorated with Easter lilies and covered with breads, oranges, lemons, artichokes, pastas and desserts. It also always involves not just sharing food with each other but with those in need.

What are the colors for St. Joseph's day? ›

Participants are often clad in red, and decorations bear the colors of the Italian flag – green, white and red. While the fava bean was the original star of the Feast of St.

What is the name of the pastry for Saint Joseph's day? ›

Joseph's Day Pastries) Zeppole di San Giuseppe are traditionally made to commemorate St. Joseph's Day but are so good you'll make them all year long!

How do you celebrate the feast of St. Joseph? ›

Generally, a statue of St. Joseph is placed at the head of the table and is surrounded by gifts of various foods, citrus fruits, and of course, breads. On the feast day, an open house is held, inviting friends and family to join in the celebration of eating the gifts left on the table.

What are you supposed to do with the bread in St Joseph altar? ›

Many altars offer gift bags to visitors. They usually contain sweets, such as fig cookies, a piece of bread, a blessed fava bean and a prayer card. Rather than eat the bread, some New Orleanians believe you should put it in the freezer.

Do you eat the food at a St Joseph altar? ›

Food covers the altar in gratitude to St. Joseph for alleviating hunger, representing abundance. It is traditional for the remaining edible portions of the altar to be donated to give back to the community. This celebration is said to have originated in New Orleans as a result of Italian immigration in the early 1800s.

Why is bread on the St. Joseph's altar? ›

Most items on the altar represent the patron saint of Sicily, workers and family. Bread is shaped into St. Joseph's staff. His profession is honored with bread in the shape of carpenter's tools such as ladders, saws and hammers.

Is St. Joseph's day Italian or Polish? ›

Joseph became a popular day of celebration for Czechs. The holiday is more common in Europe than America and Czechs share the holiday with Polish and Italians, particularly Sicilians. The feast of St. Joseph (Den Svatého Josefa) is celebrated annually on March 19th in honor of St.

Why do we eat pastry on St. Joseph's day? ›

Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, he started to sell pancakes to provide for his family, therefore, tying sweets and desserts like zeppoles to his name. The other mentions he was a saint of carpenters and craftsmen, and there was the “Carpenter's Feast,” where wooden toys were sold for children to enjoy.

Why do you wear red on St. Joseph day? ›

Joseph's Feast Is When Italians Parade : The Salt The wearing of the red honors the patron saint of Sicily. But the real celebrating centers around extravagant altars filled with traditional food, religious symbols and tributes to loved ones.

Do you eat the food at a St. Joseph altar? ›

Food covers the altar in gratitude to St. Joseph for alleviating hunger, representing abundance. It is traditional for the remaining edible portions of the altar to be donated to give back to the community. This celebration is said to have originated in New Orleans as a result of Italian immigration in the early 1800s.

What do you do on St. Joseph's feast day? ›

7 Ways to Celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph
  • Pray the Litany of Saint Joseph. As the earthly father of Jesus and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. ...
  • Meditate on the life of St. Joseph. ...
  • Make a Saint Joseph Altar. ...
  • Eat Some Traditional Food. ...
  • Make a Pilgrimage. ...
  • Consecrate Yourself to St. ...
  • Perform a Work of Mercy.

What do you eat with St. Joseph wine? ›

The massive taste of a full bodied Saint-Joseph pairs best with bold food. Saint-Joseph loves Roasted Lamb and BBQ.


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