St. Joseph's Day Brings Celebrations to Carroll Gardens

By Nikhita Venugopal on March 15, 2013 3:13pm 

CARROLL GARDENS — The Feast of St. Joseph, a Roman Catholic religious occasion, is especially important in Italian neighborhoods and in Carroll Gardens, the celebration has already begun.

According to Roman Catholic tradition, during a famine in the Italian island of Sicily, the community prayed to St. Joseph, who eventually saved their crop.

On March 19,  people celebrate the occasion by wearing red and making a feast to honor the husband of the Virgin Mary. 

Sfingi and Zeppole are the traditional pastries served on this occasion, particularly in several Italian-American bakeries in Carroll Gardens.

While the Italian-American population of the neighborhood has dwindled from its former strength over the last decade, the community still honors St. Joseph through food, prayer and service.

Sfingi and Zeppole:
Made with fried dough and filled with ricotta cream (Sfingi) or custard (Zeppole), these pastries are a St. Joseph’s Day tradition and can be found all over Carroll Gardens. Mom-and-Pop bakeries like Court Pastry (298 Court St.), Caputo’s Bake Shop (329 Court St.) and Mazzola Bakery (192 Union St.) serve the delicacy all week with each pastry priced about $3.

Pasta Con Sarde:
If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, head to Ferdinando’s Foccaceria (151 Union St.) for their St. Joseph’s Day special, Pasta Con Sarde, made with bucatini pasta, sardines, raisins and spices.

Prayer and Worship:
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary – St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church (108 Carroll St.) will host “The Feast of St. Joseph” on March 19. The Mass, at 7 p.m., will be followed by a reception where the church has asked parishioners to bring a specialty dish of their own.

The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph (856 Pacific St.) is a little outside Carroll Gardens, but will host its own celebration for the patron saint.  The Mass, on March 16 at 5 p.m., will be followed by a reception at the church’s rectory, said the Rev. Jorge Ortiz-Garay, the cathedral’s parochial vicar.

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