Today, Sicilian Americans in New Orleans prepare colorful altars with statues, holy pictures, candles, and elaborately decorated breads, pastries, and other foods. Some families open their homes for people to view their altars, pray, honor Saint Joseph, receive something to eat, and perhaps make a donation for the poor.
Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) students and instructors visited two Saint Joseph altars in homes in uptown New Orleans, where we received a warm welcome, heard the story of Saint Joseph and the Sicilian famine, and admired the beautiful altar. We each received a bag containing a Saint Joseph prayer card, some Italian cookies, and a fava bean. We learned that the fava bean, usually used as food for cattle, was the only plant that grew during the famine and kept the people alive. Today it is considered a lucky bean, and whoever carries it will have good luck.
Below are photos from our visit to the Saint Joseph altars.
|The Italian flag marks a home where a Saint Joseph altar is displayed|
|View of a Saint Joseph altar in an uptown New Orleans home|
|Another view of a Saint Joseph altar in an uptown New Orleans home|
|Nicole Rios of Nicaragua holds the gift bag she received with a Saint Joseph prayer card,|
several Italian cookies, and a lucky fava bean.
|Ying Liao of China, Felix Garmendia of Venezuela, and LIEP Instructor Christina Indovina|
|The dough is rolled out, eventually to form a rectangle.|
|The fig stuffing is added and rolled up in the dough.|
|The cuccidati are carefully cut.|
|Alicia Lucidi of France prepares to take a baking sheet of cuccidati to the oven.|
|Alhousseyni Gallo of Senegal waits for the cuccidati to bake.|
|The cuccidati are ready to eat!|
|CoCo Zhao of China enjoys one of our just-baked cuccidati!|