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Catholic Activity: Fava Beans for St. Joseph's Day

The fava bean plays a role on the feast of St. Joseph and the tradition of the Altar or Table for March 19. Here is a short explanation.

DIRECTIONS

Fava bean (vicia fava) —Fava beans play a large role in the Sicilian tradition of the St. Joseph Table or St. Joseph Altar. They may be served in a frittata or in garlic sauce. When dried, roasted and blessed, it becomes the very popular "lucky bean." Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry one. Some people believe that if you keep one in the pantry, there will always be food in the kitchen.

The myth of the fava bean began during the famine in Sicily, where the bean was used as fodder for cattle. To survive, the farmers prepared them for the table. Hence, they considered themselves lucky to have them. The bean is also a symbol of fertility since it grows well even in poor, rocky soil. Italians would carry a bean from a good crop to ensure a good crop the following year.

The blessed dried beans are distributed on the altars along with a piece of blessed bread.

Activity Source: Viva San Giuseppe by St. Joseph Guild, St. Joseph Guild, 1200 Mirabeau Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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