St. Joseph Altars
The beautiful and lively traditional marking of generosity is celebrated in New Orleans each March 19. The tradition of St. Joseph's Day began after a severe drought in Sicily in the middle ages. In desperation, people asked St. Joseph, their patron, to intervene. They promised that if rain came they would prepare a big feast in his honor. In gratitude for prayers answered with rain, huge banquet tables were set up in public and poor people were invited to come and eat as much as they wanted. Today, special foods, linens, flowers, and statuary adorn the St. Joseph altars, built with three steps representing the Holy Trinity. Generosity marks this day, as it did the character of Joseph himself.