Every St. Josephs Day for the past 25 years I have brought my Sicilian father Joseph, Zeppoles. What the heck is a Zeppole you ask? Zeppoles are Italian bread dough that is either baked or fried and then filled with custard. Some bakeries use a cannoli filling, but that is not a true Zeppole. Thousands upon thousands of them will be eaten today….not by me freshies!! I don’t even like them. I’m really surprised that my Dad even likes them. He really isn’t much of a sweets eater at all, but he likes his Zeppoles.
Some say that the tradition of St. Joseph’s Day began in Sicily, during the Middle Ages. There was a severe drought. The people prayed for St. Joseph, their patron saint, to intervene. They promised him that, if he answered their prayers and brought rain, they would prepare a big feast in his honor. Their prayers were answered and the rains came. True to their word, the people of Sicily prepared a banquet and placed huge banquet tables for the poor of the town to enjoy. The day is a day of generosity and kindness. It was not only a way for the people of Sicily to thank St. Joseph for answering their prayers, but also a way to share their good fortune with the poor of the town.
To me it’s a day to remind myself how lucky I am to have my Dad in my life. We had our struggles during the teenage years when he wouldn’t let me do anything!! Being the only girl and the oldest was a real test for him (and me) let me tell you. Thanks goodness Mom was there to cover for me all the time. There is a reason why they call her Saint Mim. He watched over me and took such good care of me when I was living on my own for the first time ever, that I really don’t know what I would have done without him. Even though he drives me crazy sometimes, and I am certain that he is the person that I inherited all my worrying and anxiety from, he’s a pretty awesome guy who would do anything in the world for me and my family. He loves his grandsons so fiercely it amazes me. I see a side of him as Grandpa that I never saw growing up. I suppose that’s how a lot of parents are.
So every year I bring my Dad his Zeppoles, and every year he always acts surprised, as if he had no clue that I would be coming by with them. I love my Dad.