On March 19th, the feast of Saint Joseph, one of the most venerated saints in the Christian religious tradition, is celebrated, a feast that is celebrated every year throughout the faithful world.
He is considered the putative father of Jesus and he was married to the Virgin Mary.
His figure has often been represented in works of art and paintings, showing him working with wood. Nevertheless, the evangelist Matthew, states that Jesus was the son of a "tekton", which means of a carpenter, a profession highly valued in Palestine more than two thousand years ago.
However, just few are the informations about St. Joseph that we can find in the writings considered canonical, and this is the reason of the proliferation of speculation in the apocryphal gospels.
According to the tradition, God selected him to be the putative father of Jesus and protector of the Holy Family: The Gospel of Matthew, reports the dream of the Saint in which an angel says “do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-24)
Why is fear mentioned? Mary's pregnancy is the dogma par excellence. According to today's skeptics this is cause of criticism, but even in the days of the old Nazareth conception by the Holy Spirit was cause for disbelief and in a certain sense outrage. There was a law, the law of jealousy, applicable even in the case of a husband's suspicion of his wife's fidelity, but Joseph decided not to apply it. Mary's words (Il racconto dell’annunciazione) and the angel's dream were sufficient for reassurance.
He is considered the patron saint of children, elderly and moribound, and is invoked to find work, the family affairs and the protection of the home and family, and is usually considered the patron saint of workers.
It was named patron of the universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870 and its festivity was established as a universal liturgical feast, another curiosity is that Saint Joseph is celebrated not only on March 19, but also on May 1. In this second case, it has the title of "Saint Joseph worker". The festival was established on 1 May by the will of Pope Pius XII to respond to the demands of the Catholic workers, who did not want the socialists to be the only ones to have their own anniversary.
Many cities and villages have churches and sanctuaries dedicated to Saint Joseph, including the famous Basilica di San Giuseppe Dei Falegnami in Rome, built in the place where it is said that Saint Joseph worked as a blacksmith, but there are more than 200 places of worship.
Saint Joseph was also the subject of many legends and popular traditions, even superstitious: in some parts of the world, for example, it is said to bring good luck and dreams.
Moreover, in Italy, the figure of Saint Joseph has traditionally been associated with the figure of the father of the family, representing the ideal of a loving and protective father and for this reason that on March 19, in all Italian families followers of the tradition, is recognized as Father’s Day.
The Saint Joseph’s “bignè”
The celebrations of the feast of Saint Joseph (later Father’s Day), March 19th, were very felt in the capital since medieval times. The Romans used to meet up to commemorate the feast with great celebrations among all the Churches dedicated to him. It was particularly involved the brotherhood of carpenters, who financed and organized the celebrations of the Saint, during which, on special banquets placed in the street, it was customary to find fried “bignè”. From here the saint acquired the nice name of “San Giuseppe Frittellaro”. Today the tradition does not foresee these great celebrations, but the dessert remains a culinary heritage, easily found every day in the bakeries of the capital.