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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Friday Favorite Family Foto, Cultural History, a Mystery, and a Happy Birthday

I've been away from Friday's Favorite Family Foto hosted by Deborah for several weeks now, but this week is special to me in a couple of ways. March 19 is St. Joseph's Day and it is also my daughter's birthday.
St. Joseph was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and he was a carpenter. Celebrating his day goes back to the Middle Ages when Sicily was in the middle of a severe drought. The people prayed to God through St. Joseph asking for rain so that they could plant their crops. The rain came and the Sicilian people promised to have a special feast honoring St. Joseph. These feasts "festas" have been going on for centuries with some traditions changing here and there. As a child, I remember going to several feasts and hearing the older people speak in Italian. There was much celebrating with tons of traditional foods placed on 3 tiers or tables of different heights. These 3 tables were symbols of the Holy Trinity. A statue of St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus was placed on one of the tables along with lighted votive candles, vases of wheat, flowers, breads and sweets. No meats were served because St. Joseph's Day falls in the middle of the Lenten season. Many of the vegetable dishes were made with bread crumbs symbolizing the sawdust of St. Joseph's profession. Like I stated previously, many of the traditions have changed and going to Google to read about these altars and St. Joseph would be a better resource than my limited knowledge.
This is a postcard of St. Joseph (S. Giuseppe in Italian) who was the "protector of Roccamena" which is a province in Sicily. At least one of my grandparents came from Roccamena but I'm not sure which one.
This is a photo that one of my parents took when I was a child. It is a St. Joseph table/altar complete with the food that we all ate. Notice the candles and flowers along with tons of food for the guests.

March 19, is also special because that is the day that the swallows return to the mission at San Juan Capistrano in California. This is a photo of me age one along with my cousin, Carol Nancy, and my father. Notice the swallows coming up to us looking for the food that Carol and my dad are holding in their hands. No one knows why the swallows always return from Argentina on March 19. Some say it is a miracle, some say it is a mystery....whatever it is, it has been happening for many years without fail. The birds always leave on Oct. 23, and return on March 19. Another Google inquiry perhaps........

Here is a baby picture of my daughter, Karen, who was born on March 19, 1980. After my mother calmed down from becoming a grandmother, she looked at me and said, "She was born on March 19, St. Joseph's Day"! I'll never forget that.

Baby Karen wants to crawl in her crib

What a beautiful face with gorgeous blue eyes!

Karen, age 4, sitting on her canopy bed.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2005 when Karen and Joe celebrated their engagement. He is so handsome and she is truly beautiful.

A breathtaking bride admiring her bouquet at the Ritz Carlton where the reception was held. Karen and Joe married February 4, 2006.

My baby girl has a baby of her own on February 9, 2007.
I never knew how special March 19 was until I sat down and realized how much happens on that date. A saint's day, a miracle/mystery and my precious daughter's birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN. We love you very much and we are so proud of the woman you have become. You are such a ray of sunshine and your day is special indeed just like you.

As a postscript to this post, my daughter told us on her 29th birthday, March 19, 2009,that she is pregnant with her second child. This date just keeps getting more special all the time.


Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Happy Birthday to Karen. Loved seeing her grow in pictures. And enjoyed the history of St. Joseph.

Sue Jackson said...

Great post, and I really enjoyed the cultural history part of your post! Our babies grow so fast, don't they? But then we get to start all over with our grandbabies! Take care, Sue

ann said...

awwwwwwwwwww,i just love a proud mama.enjoy dear...ann

Sherrie said...

Beautiful, loved all those photos of your daughter growing up. Have a great day!!


April said...

What a gorgeous daughter you have...I wish her the happiest birthday ever!!! Enjoy your day...spring has arrived!


She is so beautiful. What darling baby pictures too.

Sheila T said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your photos. Happy Friday!

Jeanne said...

WW! Avery interesting and sweet post. The photos are just awesome. I didn't know about St. Joseph's feast. The photo of the feast is so elaborate. Imagine your daughters birthday is th sa r dy. Her photos growing up are a treasure. And you are right, she is beautiful. Now she has a baby of her own. You are a lucky grandma.

Thanks for sharing your sweet story. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

Jeanne said...

Sorry about the errors, I am falling asleep here lol WOW...Same day,

Hugs again...Jeanne

~Deborah~ said...

Yes, that is a very special day with special meaning to your family. Karen is gorgeous!

Thank you for sharing the story of St. Joseph and taking us along as Karen grows up!


kayellen said...

Beautiful Entry!!!You are blessed my dear flickr friend!!!
Happy Birthday to your daughter!!!

Thankyou for stopping by my blog this morning. You are up early!!!

I am off to take my daughter to run with her team.

Can't wait to run away with my hubby for a few days.

Warm Hugs,

Montee said...

Your Karen is a beautiful woman. I really like the San Juan Capistrano picture.


Congratulations! You guys must be so excited. I'm thrilled for you.

~Tara said...

What a great post and thanks for sharing what a special day it is to you! Happy birthday to your daughter and congrats! Wow, what great news to get on an already special day for you...