In Chicago since St. Joseph’s Day falls in the shadow of St. Patrick’s Day, we don’t celebrate it much. I know there are festivities at parishes with Italian members, but I’ve never been to one. In the BIg Easy they celebrate March 19th more. In the morning there’s a ritual for children in which they seek food at various shelters like the Holy Family trying to get a place at an inn on Christmas Eve and the children are turned away repeatedly. Then they go to the priest at the St. Joseph’s altar and are welcomed. I’d seen some of the floats and preparations near the convention center so in the evening Maryann and I went to the parade. It was probably the best parade I’ve ever been too. Starting with the Shriners, some on Harley’s and others in little cars handing out chains of beads, the parade wound around the French Quarter. The streets were quite narrow which gave the parade intimacy and getting these beads made it interactive.
After the Shriners came the Italian marchers in tuxedos, who handed out carnations in return for a kiss. Then came various bands, dancers and maids, i.e..young girls in white dresses resembling beauty queens waving like royalty. The parade has this great community-feel. The actor who played Jimmy on The Practice was there as a couple of local celebrities and politicians.