San Gennaro è il patrono principale di Napoli, nel cui Duomo sono custodite le sue ossa e due antichissime ampolle contenenti il presunto sangue raccolto da una donna pia subito dopo il martirio. Queste ampolle vengono esposte alla venerazione dei fedeli tre volte l’anno: il sabato precedente la prima domenica di maggio, il 19 settembre ed il 16 dicembre. Giorni cari alla pietà partenopea in quanto in essi si può assistere al fenomeno della liquefazione, attestata per la prima volta nel 1389 come fatto già noto e considerato miracoloso dalla credenza popolare. La giornata di festa offre ogni anno tantissimi appuntamenti tra musica, arte, cultura, sport, spettacolo, solidarietà e fede, che colorano e rallegrano le strade di Napoli in onore del Santo. A New York la celebrazione si svolge il 19 settembre iniziando con una processione religiosa che parte dalla più antica chiesa del quartiere italiano ed è seguita da parate, giochi e dai tipici venditori di salsicce e zeppole.
Each year on September 19, numerous Italian Catholics partake in the Feast of Saint Januarius to honor the Patron Saint of Naples, Saint Januarius. In Italy, this day is known as La Festa di San Gennaro. This day was inspired by Januarius I of Benevento, a bishop, martyr, and saint who was born in the third century. Saint Januarius is typically known for the annual liquefaction of his blood, a tradition honored by the Catholic community in Italy that takes place in Naples.
What originally began as a one-day celebration became a massive festival that often spans several days. The feast not only contains delicious Italian sausages, pastas, and other delicacies, but parades, games, and other fun-filled attractions are packed into the day as well. As it is a Roman Catholic celebration, there are also religious services before and during the festival as well, including candlelit processions and important church services. Many Italians make a visit to the cathedral of Naples that is said to contain some of Saint Januarius’ blood for a chance to see it liquefy. There are also days in May and December in which the Italian Catholic people may make this trip, and each day honors Saint Januarius.
The Feast of Saint Januarius is also celebrated in the United States for those deeply connected to their Italian Catholic heritage. It wasn’t until the autumn of 1926 when immigrants from Naples, Italy brought the tradition to the United Stated with them. Within the Little Italy of New York, the grand feast is accompanied by a colorful statue of San Gennaro, which is carried throughout the streets stretching numerous blocks. Other festivals honoring Saint Januarius have been created throughout the years in the United States as well, giving those interested in Italian culture a chance to share in the experience. Los Angeles, Seattle, and Belmar are some of the many recent festival locations. With most locations, the procession of Saint Januarius’ statue and the Italian food and music are included as a staple of the celebration.
As with every year, the Feast of Saint Januarius will be celebrated on September 19 for most locations, although the extended festival allows celebration on more days than one. For the Eastern Christian Church, the feast won’t be celebrated on that day, but rather on April 21. With more than fifty patron saints belonging to Naples, this celebration is just one of many for the Italian Catholic people that brings them together to celebrate yet another cherished figure in their culture.