Full caption: Josephine Martellaro of Pueblo, Colorado, with the Saint Joseph's Day table she created at her home in 1990. Photograph by Myron Wood. Italian-Americans in the West Project. American Folklife Center. (IAW-MW-C001-13) Full caption: Josephine Martellaro of Pueblo, Colorado, with the Saint Joseph's Day table she created at her home in 1990. Photograph by Myron Wood. Italian-Americans in the West Project. American Folklife Center. (IAW-MW-C001-13)

Women are often regarded as tradition-bearers within their communities. One tradition maintained by women in the Italian American community of Pueblo, Colorado, derives from a centuries-old tradition on the famine-plagued island of Sicily. According to the story, Sicilian peasants prayed to Saint Joseph, the island's patron saint, to end the famine and suffering that was their lot. When their prayers were answered, the poor people of the island offered up in thanksgiving their most prized possession—food. Brought to Pueblo in the 1890s, the tradition has evolved into large, open-house events that feature tables laden with food, such as this one, photographed in 1990. Today, the tables are prepared to thank Saint Joseph for his assistance in helping families through all sorts of difficult times.

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