Hundreds celebrate St. Joseph's Day at local church

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For more than 500 years people have celebrated St. Joseph. It's a tradition that continues today with a huge feast at a Rockford church.

Bread, cookies, and pastries fill the altar dedicated to St. Joseph at St. Anthony's Catholic Church. Volunteers also served up the traditional meal of meatless pasta, omlets, and vegetables.

St. Joseph's Altar is an ancient Sicilian tradition that started during a famine caused by drought. Sicilian’s prayed to St. Joseph for rain and when it came the tradition was started as a way of thanksgiving. The altar also symbolizes the beginning of spring and renewal.

"It's a feast day that people, especially of Italian tradition really love and revere. It brings back their childhood memories and it brings us together as a parish on such a happy occasion," St. Joseph’s Day Altar Co-Chair Joan Gullo, said.

Many people wear red in honor of St. Joseph's Day.