March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, is drawing near, and now it is possible to purchase the traditional panuzzi di San Giuseppe in the bakeries in Enna (Sicily). On this day, bread becomes an object of art; furthermore, it is particularly tasty.

Today, my wife and I were strolling in the street, when we came across a bakery that displayed St. Joseph’s bread. It had various shapes, such as a hand, to symbolize the work of an artisan, a hammer, pincers, and nails, to symbolize the tools of a carpenter. In fact, St. Joseph, Jesus’s putative father, was a carpenter, a rich carpenter, according to some. In my hometown of Enna, he is considered the patron saint of the artisans. The name Giuseppe (Joseph) is widespread.

In Leonforte and Valguarnera Caropepe (two towns near Enna), it is customary to set a table with a large amount of bread and tasty food on St. Joseph’s Day. These laid tables are called tavolate di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s tables).Visitors from all over Sicily come to see them. At the end of St. Joseph’s Day, the poor enter the houses and freely eat the food from the tables.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

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