San Gennaro Feast: Top 7 Best Facts

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San Gennaro Feast, source-

The San Gennaro Feast is an Italian American Festival. It privileges Naples’s patron saint, Italy. It is a Christian festival.

The followers of Christ are known as Christians. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born between 7 and 4 B.C.E.

He was killed by execution known as crucifixion by the Roman Authorities in the year 30 C.E. But after his death, he rose back to life. The cross of Jesus’ resurrection and death gave a tangible symbol in Christianity.

All About San Gennaro Feast

san gennaro feast, source-
By MusikAnimal/, Copyright 2021.

The San Gennaro Feast is the festival and is the annual feast of San, which citizens first celebrated in the United States on September 19, 1926. It was marked by the immigrants from Naples of New York City and Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy section. After immigration, to continue their tradition to celebrate the Patron Saint of Naples’, Saint Januarius, that they observed in Italy. His celebration day is September 19 in the Roman Catholic Church’s Liturgical Calendar.  

The 94th annual San Gennaro feast is postponed till 2021. However, the Processions and the Solemn High Mass had still taken place on September 19, 2020. They had taken place from Saturday, September 19, to Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

Over the 11-day course of the San Gennaro Feast, the restaurants on the streets of Little Italy welcome the visitors. Also, some of them provide outdoor eating facilities for the San Gennaro Feast.

 The charm of the streets is unmissable when vendors line up in a long queue to sell foods of Italy and different kinds of Souvenirs. The Feast is presented and organized by a non-profit organization, the Figli di San Gennaro.

By Paolo Magni/Flickr, Copyright 2021.

1. History of San Gennaro

St. Januarius or San Gennaro, the bishop of Benevento of the fourth century, is Naples’ patron saint, Italy. According to history, he survived after being thrown to the den of wild beasts and the fiery furnace.

But later, he was decapitated during Diocletian’s reign. Containing some of his blood, the people then bought his body to Naples with two vials.

On his death anniversary every year, the coagulated blood preserved since the time of San Gennaro in the Cathedral is liquefied since 1389 that has also attracted a crowd to Naples.

The Feast is held during the last two weeks of September in Little Italy. Mainly all the religious ceremonies that are stored in this Feast are done completed on September 19.

Most of the church services are held on this day. Also, a famous procession carrying the statue of San Gennaro, the church through the streets, is still held on that day.

This custom of celebrating this Italian San Gennaro feast has started spreading in other cities of the U.S. They are also held at different times in California, Virginia, Las Vegas, Reston, and Nevada.

2. Description of San Gennaro

To house the patron saints’ image, some cafe owners erected a small chapel for the families who are immigrants on Mulberry street to start the Feast. They asked the devoted to pin a handout to those ribbon streamers hung from the statue’s apron. They also invited all the partakes of their wares. The money later was contributed to the poor of the neighborhood.

Later, the Feast expanded in 11 days street fairs run and organized by the people outside the neighborhood. It was an annual honoring of food like sausage and pepper sandwiches and drink, a significant tourist attraction.

Centralized on Mulberry street, which is close to traffic for the occasion, the Feast has generally featured Street vendors, sausages, zeppole, parades, games, and other unique activities. After the mass celebration at the church of the most precious blood, the grand procession was held at 2 pm at Feast last Sunday.

3. Corruption of San Gennaro feast

Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of New York City, announced that if the corrupt elements from the city’s San Gennaro feast are not removed, he has to shut down the festival. Before his order, the mafia involvement and financial improprieties were exposed. Later, the municipal government ordered a professional manager for the community group, also formed to manage the Feast. Then they hired Mort Berkowitz as the financial manager.

4. Other Locations of San Gennaro feast

In Little Italy of New York City, other festivals are also held with the same attractions in the Belmont community in the Bronx. The streets are close to traffic, where the feasts proceed till late night, and they begin the early morning. They are sponsored from different cities, the most recent was Belmar, new jersey. It was founded in 2012 by Daniel Di Cesare, whose main aim was to highlight the positive contributions of the Italian Americans.

Jimmy Kimmel, Doug DeLuca, and Adam Carolla 2002 founded the San Gennaro Feast Los Angeles, which now became the major event held every September in Hollywood. In Las Vegas Valley, Nevada, the San Gennaro feast was brought by Tony Sacca in 1986.

The Feast was started from small in a park later it succeeds to more extensive grounds. It grasps twice in the year, in the fall and spring. Nevada and Las Vegas have carnival rides, traditional cuisine, games, and entertainers such as Louis Prima’s daughter, Lena Prima and Emilio Baglioni.  

The Mascio family formed the San Gennaro feast Foundation in 2013 to bring the San Gennaro feast to Seattle, WA. In the second week of September, live music and food held the processional of the Saint Gennaro Statue. When Seattle’s Italian first arrived in Seattle, they arrived in the heart of Georgetown, WA, where these feasts are held.

By Jazz Guy/Flickr, Copyright 2021.

5. Events:

Here is the Italian festival that took place in the last festival, to have an idea about the 94th San Gennaro’s Feast:

Day 1: From 5 pm, Johnny Mandolin and Friends takes place. From 6 pm onwards to 7:30, the blessing of stands occurs, and from 7:30 ahead, it is the Free Pass.

Day 2: From 1 pm, it is the Annual Cannoli Eating contest, and from 7:30 pm, it is the La La Brooks and the crystals that take place.

Day 3: From 2 pm, the Grand Procession takes place. From 4 pm speech is delivered by Patron Steve Schirripa. The Live Radio Broadcast is done from 7 pm.

Day 4: The performance from Sassi Party starts at noon, and Gene Roberts’ band takes place from 7 pm.

Day 5: The food demonstration starts at 1 pm, and the devotions begin at 7:30 pm.

Day 6: The annual Zeppole Eating Competition occurs from 1 pm, and the chicklets begin at 7:30 pm.

Day 7: The Neopolitan concert starts at 2 pm. The celebration of the patron saint’s Naples by solemn high mass begins at 6 pm.

Day 8: The demonstration of foods takes place from 1 pm. The Vito and the elegant begins at 7:30 pm.

Day 9: The annual meatball eating contest and Italian foods occur from 1 pm to 2 pm. From 2 pm onwards, the vocal Competition begins. The just friends start at 7:30 pm.

Day 10: The Blood donation with the Red cross begins at 11:30 am. From 2 pm onwards Mulberry Street- the show starts. The Jimmy Russo and the flowers start at 4 pm. From 6:30 pm, the Jenna Esposito starts.

6. Doings in The Feast

Eating is the first thing one would probably want to do when they are in the San Gennaro Feast or any other time you visit Little Italy. Before filling up on any cannoli and pizza, make sure to assess and lap what is there. However, street food is one of the best things in the San Gennaro feast. Still, you’d also want to sit at any restaurant.

In Mulberry Street, the highlight is the restaurants that offer many special menus for events. This is one of the most delicate chances to enjoy the feasts’ atmosphere while just sitting down in a place, also. Do not let the desserts be missed.

Also, between desserts and delicious foods, you can try out your luck too. There are fantastic carnival games for the adults to try out their luck and rides for children to enjoy their company.

There are many religious processions taking place, which one would definitely want. The shops will all be open for the visitors and residents. The vendors would sell around many unique items like T-shirts and many other souvenirs.

In this Feast, you will also find more details and information about the acts of music. Here, many unique events take place like the meatball eating contest, eating contest, and cooking demonstrations, which one would surely like to try and enjoy during the Feast.

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Photo by Ramille Soares on Unsplash

7. Must Know:

Before you go, make sure to make out most of the experience at the iconic Feast. The feast is delightful.

Most of the crowd visits the feast mainly in the evenings and on the weekends. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, it is advisable to go on a weekday.

If you are going with small children, navigating through the narrow streets is the easiest only if they are wearing a carrier. But, to keep track of bigger kids in a crowd.

Vendors of feasts are opened from 11 am to 11 pm every weekday and until the midnights on Friday and Saturday for the San Gennaro Feast.


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