San Gennaro or St. Januarius

September 19 is the feast day of St. Januarius, bishop and martyr. There is not much known about St. Januarius. He was Bishop of Benevento in Campania. He died near Naples, about the year 305, martyred under the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Around the year 400 the relics of St. Januarius were moved to Naples, which honors him as a patron saint. He is better known as San Gennaro to the Italians of Naples.

In addition to seeking a new life in America, immigrants from Naples, brought with them a rich culture and deep religious heritage, including the centuries-old tradition they had followed in Italy to celebrate the feast day of San Gennaro. It has continued and the largest festival, which is now a 2 week street festival, is held in Manhattan, NY.

Not being from that part of the country, I first became aware of New York’s San Gennaro festival in reading the book, American, Too by Elisa Bartone. It is a very intriguing cultural and religious celebration to me. It’s a great day to honor this saint as the Italians and Italian-Americans do, with lots of good Italian food which could include:

pepper and sausage sandwiches
pizza margarita
zeppoles (traditional for St. Joseph's feast, but served for other feasts as well)

Here are a variety of recipes from Campania Italy, the region of Naples and San Gennaro.
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