March, 19 S. GIUSEPPE
On the day of the festival itself there is a procession with an effigy of the Saint on a pallet (in dialect “ ‘a vara”), whilst on its eve fires known as the “Vampa di San Ciusieppe” are organised. The typical sweets of this occasion are the soft sfinci, simply made of flour and eggs and then fried before being covered in a kind of creamy ricotta.
The town is best known for its embroidery and for various eagerly anticipated events such as the Feast of Saint Joseph (Festa di San Giuseppe) on the 18th of March, the Feast of the Patron Saint (Festa del Santo Patrono)
The festival of San Giuseppe on the 19th of March is very important in Gangi. The festivities in honour of the saint begin some weeks before with religious celebrations known as i sittini, as well as popular ones. The celebration is preceeded by a procession of the Baby Jesus (U Bomminiddu) though the town. It is celebrated contemporaneously in two separate churches called San Giuseppe dei "Ricchi" (“San Guiseppe of the Rich”) and San Giuseppe dei "Poveri" (“of the Poor”), where the congregation receive u pani di San Giuseppi (bread rolls that have been blessed and are made by the congregation as offerings). Some weeks later when warmer weather arrives, some of Gangi’s families express their religious devotion through fari a San Giuseppi, a tradition which normally takes place in their country homes, and consists of offering people a traditional meal (in the past offered only to the poor) based on pasta and lentils, fried salt-cod with boiled fennel, an orange, water and wine.
One particularly heart-felt religious festival is that of San Giuseppe (St Joseph’s Day – 19th March) where, years ago, public banquets were held for the poor. Nowadays, to keep the tradition alive, the villagers still prepare bread to give to their neighbours.
The Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated on the 19th of March every year, with a religious celebration that includes liturgical rituals in the morning and a procession with statues of Saint Joseph and the Baby Jesus in the afternoon. Until recently it was local custom to have lunches with open doors, and closed doors “for virgins” (“pi virgineddi”), a practice that has been lost today. However, they still prepare the traditional menu of tagliatelle with dried beans and wild fennel, salt cod, chard and sweets called “sfingi”.