March 19th: St Joseph's Day. Celebrated with a feast, when you visit a St. Joseph's table, you often receive gifts of fava beans and breads. Fava beans play an integral part of the celebration because this was the food that saved the Sicilians from starvation. The bean is said to bring good luck, and it is believed that if the St. Joseph's bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH'S DAY AND SICILIANS While there are several legends detailing the origin of the altars, the most common tells of people praying to St.Joseph to help them in the midst of a terrible famine.The famine ended because of a bounty of fava beans, which supplied an unexpected source of food.The people created an altar of thanks & began a yearly tradition. The presence of the fava bean in the story explains why everyone who visits an altar takes away a “lucky” bean or fava bean.