Festa di San Giuseppe & Festa del Papá | Feast of St. Joseph & Father’s Day in Italy

Category: Stories

Father’s Day is a holiday honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. People celebrate this special day all around the world, but not always on the same date. The US celebrates this day in June every year. However, Italians celebrate Father’s Day on March 19th, which is also a day dedicated to San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph). In Catholic tradition, San Giuseppe was known as Jesus’s earthly father figure. In the bible, he is described as a good husband and father, which is why Father’s Day in Italy coincides with the Festa di San Giuseppe – The Feast of St. Joseph. These two celebrations coming together, make for a day full of festivities!

No matter the occasion, Italians celebrate with an abundance of food, but for this specific day, there are far more traditional sweets made rather than savory dishes. Families come together to eat a variety of fried sweet treats, including delicious Italian cream puffs known as zeppole di san Giuseppe. They are deep-fried pastries filled with custard cream, covered with a light dusting of sugar and topped with black cherries. You’ll also see families enjoying an assortment of donuts, fried cakes and fruit. Since this holiday is celebrated during the Lenten season, none of the dishes contain any meat. Typically, only seafood and vegetables are served for this occasion, in addition to the sweet treats.

Besides these lovely traditions, children spend the day creating Festa del Papá’s (Father’s Day) special cards, drawings, and original poems to give their fathers and tell them how special they are. Similar to the US, families also buy small gifts to give to their fathers and spend some quality time together.

Sharing our Italian culture and traditions with our Little Italy community is important to us and it’s a great way for us to appreciate and celebrate together, even if we are apart. Do you plan to celebrate San Giuseppe? Tag us on our social media below if so, so we can all share the moment.

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