Every September for the past ninety-seven years, thousands upon thousands descend on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s venerable Little Italy for “a festa ‘e tutte ‘e feste”—“The Feast of All Feasts”… the eleven-day celebration that is the Feast of San Gennaro!
This year, the Italian American Podcast is celebrating the Patron Saint of Napoli- and one of Italian America’s most important Italian Feasts- by sponsoring the Feast’s live entertainment, and adding a little flare of our own by hosting a special live episode of the podcast and the inaugural Feast of San Gennaro Italian American Karaoke Night in partnership with our Paesani at ‘Growing Up Italian’.
On this week’s episode, we’re sitting down in our soon-to-be-permanent studio space at the heart of Little Italy to catch up with our friend John Fratta, the great-grandson of the Feast’s inaugural President, and a long-time leader of the ‘Figli di San Gennaro’ committee which organizes this incredible festival.
We’re discussing the history of the devotion to Saint Januarius from Napoli to NYC and everywhere in between, getting some unique insight into how the Feast is being tweaked to reflect its more devotional roots, and why this year’s decision to eliminate eating competitions caused so much controversy.
We’re discussing the special place Most Precious Blood Church and the National Shrine of San Gennaro hold in the life of Italian New York, and getting a P.O.B. masterclass in the history of this beloved patron Saint!