San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, actually feels like the patron saint of New York City, too. For ten days this month Little Italy was involved in a major celebration of the saint. Mulberry Street was abuzz with sausage and peppers, braciole, calzones, seafood of all stripes, cannolis, stromboli. There’s nothing better than being downwind from a particularly good stall.
The highlight of the feast is the parade that takes San Gennaro, covered in dollar bills, along Mulberry Street preceded by marching bands, cops and local celebrities.
San Gennaro was the Bishop of Benevento, Italy. He was martyred in 305 A.D. Not much more is known of his life, but his post-death fame has risen because of one mighty feat. His body, which is preserved in Naples, is displayed with two phials of his dried blood. On two days a year- the first Sunday in May and September 19th, the anniversary of his martyrdom, San Gennaro’s blood liquefies. Huge crowds journey to watch this event.
I dedicate this Spirit to my good friend Rita who traveled far to enjoy the feast with us.
San Gennaro is available as a print or greeting card.