My New Orleans March
Spring has sprung here in New Orleans! Flowers a blooming and the sun is shining. Everyone keeps telling me that these couple of weeks in late March and early April are the reward for a New Orleans summer. I’m definitely going to enjoy it while it lasts.
March has been a busy and exciting month. We’re now more than halfway through the YAV year. It’s hard to believe it. I’m still having a wonderful time with all of my roommates. St. Patrick’s Day was a week ago and we spent it hanging out on the neutral group on Napoleon Ave. watching the parade go by. I tried to take more pictures at this parade to make up for the fact that I didn’t take many during Mardi Gras. The St. Patrick’s Day parade was like a smaller than last month’s parades. There were large sections of men walking and exchanging flowers for kisses. Following them were large floats with people throwing food to the crowd instead of beads. I caught some Ramen and Lucky Charms. I also caught a cabbage and some carrots. You’re supposed to be able to catch the ingredients needed to make an Irish stew at home. We honestly haven’t yet cooked our cabbage.
St. Patrick’s Day also happened to be Super Sunday this year. Super Sunday is the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day (March 18). On Super Sunday all the Mardi Gras Indians meet at a park in Central City. It’s a great opportunity for the public to see the Indians and take pictures. Unlike on Mardi Gras morning, they are out to be seen. I was able to take a lot of wonderful pictures of their costumes. Each costume is hand made without using any glue and can weigh up to 70 pounds depending on the type of designs.
So those are basically the best parts of March for me. We’re now heading towards Easter. I hope you are all having a wonderful spring and Holy Week!
St. Joseph’s Day
St. Joseph’s Day is apparently a big deal here in New Orleans. I had never really heard of it before and didn’t know of any traditions associated with it. I thought it was really interesting and so I wanted to share a bit about it with y’all:
It falls on March 19th each year (last Tuesday). It celebrated Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’s step-father (Is that his proper title?). The holiday is mostly celebrated by Italians and Italian-Americans. In the United States, New Orleans has the largest tradition of celebrating St. Joseph’s day.
Churches, schools, and homes can build altars to Joseph. The altars have lots of food, candles, pictures, plants, and statues displayed. They are usually open to the public. The doorway to the building is marked with a green branch to let passersby know their is an altar inside. At each altar, visitors are given a dried fava bean for good luck and some free treats or cookies. The fava bean tradition comes from Sicily where they say that if you carry the bean you will never go broke. Some of the alters also offer free meals or feasts. My parents and I went to two different alters. one at De La Salle High School and another at St. Stephen’s Church on Napoleon. Here are some pictures: