The ritual of San Giuseppe’s tables

On March 18 and 19, the charming folk tradition of the "Tables" in honor of San Giuseppe.

The ritual of San Giuseppe’s tables

On March 18 and 19, the charming folk tradition of the "Tables" in honor of  San Giuseppe. Like every year, in March, back to relive the occasion of the Feast of San Giuseppe the ancient tradition of the "Tables", an original devotional form that is renewed every year, with the same spirit of charity and sacrifice in the municipalities of Salento. The cities of Salento that still preserve this ancient tradition in Salento are Giurdignano, Uggiano La Chiesa, Cocumola, Minervino di Lecce, Casamassella, Otranto, but traces of this tradition are also found in other parts of Italy.

Tracing back the origin of this tradition is difficult; this source could be identified in the “Confraternity of San Giuseppe," and to care and to the works given to poor people, including meals on the feast day of the patron. Another hypothesis is that the tables are related to the Byzantine liturgy according to which the Basilian monks offered hot meals and protection to poor people, in fact there are many crypts in the territory of Giurdignano and South Salento.

 Le "Tables" or “Taule” are now lunches offered in honor of the saint as a vote or request for clemency. There are large tables covered with white tablecloths adorned with flowers and candles, in the middle there is a painting of the saint, with the typical dishes of the tradition.
Among the various dishes an important role is played by a large circular bread with a fennel and orange in the middle.

All foods that have a symbolic meaning and ritual: the pasta and chickpeas, the colors white and yellow characterizes it, is the typical flower of spring (narcissus); the wild onions, the transition from winter to spring; fried fish. The main table is set up in the main square of the municipality;

Everything is eaten on March 19, the so-called "saints”: there are nine dishes: wild onions, vermiceddhri, bucatini with honey and fried with breadcrumbs, boiled chickpeas in "pignata". On the table there are vermicelli (in dialect "vermiceddhri" with chickpeas, pasta with bread crumbs and honey, boiled turnips and cauliflower, wild onions, fried fish, stockfish stew, fried with honey, bread, fennel and wine.

  • Chiara_Pis
  • Updated datetime: 26 April 2014 - 13:08

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