San Giuseppe in Laufenburg


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

The festival of San Giuseppe Day (St Joseph's Day) originated in Sicily, where a celebration is held in honour of St Joseph on 19 March. As he is considered the patron saint of people in need, families addressed requests to him and pledged to build an altar of food and then share these offerings with others. The tradition was brought to Laufenburg by immigrants from the Sicilian town of Leonforte. Initially they celebrated in private, until 17 years ago the festival was incorporated into the parish duties.

After an exhausting week of preparation, which includes baking bread and preparing other foods, the celebrations in honour of San Giuseppe commence on the Saturday evening closest to 19 March with a mass held in German and Italian. This is followed by a procession, a firework display and the blessing of the altar. The subsequent vigil, which includes prayer and singing, ends on the Sunday morning with a service and the ceremony of the seven saints. Once this is over, the festival is brought to a close with the distribution of the altar offerings.

This living tradition does not only serve charitable purposes; it also promotes integration by bringing people together and fostering dialogue and mutual understanding. Thanks to the involvement of Laufenburg's citizens in the preparations and the event itself, the tradition helps to strengthen the solidarity between the members of the town's population.

Image gallery

  • Around a dozen people carry the San Giuseppe statue on the procession through Laufenburg © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • San Giuseppe statue in the Church of St John the Baptist, Laufenburg: a gift from Leonforte © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • A mass held by the pastor of Laufenburg and the missionary from the Missione Cattolica di Lingua Italiana © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • Around 2,000 people from Laufenburg, Switzerland and southern Germany participate in the celebrations © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • A small table in the middle of the altar is set for the seven saints © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • Food offerings on the altar in return for a personal request addressed to the patron saint © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • At noon on Sunday, children re-enact the ceremony of the seven saints with foot-washing © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • The local bakery places its bakehouse at the disposal of the volunteers during the week-long preparations © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • Around a dozen people carry the San Giuseppe statue on the procession through Laufenburg © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • San Giuseppe statue in the Church of St John the Baptist, Laufenburg: a gift from Leonforte © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • A mass held by the pastor of Laufenburg and the missionary from the Missione Cattolica di Lingua Italiana © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • Around 2,000 people from Laufenburg, Switzerland and southern Germany participate in the celebrations © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • A small table in the middle of the altar is set for the seven saints © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • Food offerings on the altar in return for a personal request addressed to the patron saint © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • At noon on Sunday, children re-enact the ceremony of the seven saints with foot-washing © Lo Pumo, 2011
  • The local bakery places its bakehouse at the disposal of the volunteers during the week-long preparations © Lo Pumo, 2011

References and documentation

Publications
  • Giuseppe Castrogiovanni, Enrico Varrica, Signorello Lo Pumo, Gioacchino Lo Pumo, Angelo Castrogiovanni, Ernest Lo Stanco: Festa di San Giuseppe. Interpretato: da tanta gente devota a San Giuseppe (Film). Laufenburg, 1999

  • Interview mit Alessandra Chiesa vom 1. Dezember 2010 und vom 26. Juli 2011 im Pfarreihaus der Missione Cattolica di Lingua Italiana. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

  • Interview mit einem Mitglied des San Giuseppe-Komitees vom 2. November 2010 in Laufenburg. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

  • Interview mit einer Traditionsträgerin vom 16. Dezember 2010 in Turgi. Aargauer Kuratorium, Aarau

Documentation