Beans and Tambourines

March 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

Yesterday (March 19th) was St Joseph’s Day, and here in the Big Easy it’s a big deal. There are altars all over town, including churches, private homes, hotel lobbies, restaurants, bars and grocery stores. Yes, you read that right. A heavy influx of Sicilian immigrants to New Orleans brought the tradition of these altars here back in the late 1880s. St. Joseph was the guy who saved Sicily from a famine in the Middle Ages. He brought rain and a crop of lava beans.

This year hasn’t been the best, and I thought it was time to hang out at an altar, appreciate the cornucopia, and get myself a lucky fava bean to turn things around. I took a ride to the local grocery store, and was greeted with this sight:

Mardi Gras Indians Rouses St Josephs day 2018

Mardi Gras Indians

Unique to New Orleans, these are members of a tribe of Mardi Gras Indians. In addition to Mardi Gras Day, they parade and preen on or around St. Joseph’s Day as well. There is a rich history that surrounds the Mardi Gras Indian culture. They create elaborate beaded costumes for an annual tribute. This tribute pays homage to the native Americans that helped their enslaved ancestors during a rebellion. Details are fuzzy, but so far, this is what I understand.

So, at the grocery store altar, they were joined by a priest, a rabbi, and a representative from an Italian food company. This is like fodder for the classic ” A priest, a rabbi and a (fill in the blank) walk into a bar…” You really can’t make this stuff up.

FYI: Both groups (Sicilians and African Americans) shared cultural traditions like St. Joseph’s Day and brass band music, and also racist violence.

Here’s part of the altar (I had to elbow my way in to get this shot):

Altar @Rouses

St. Joseph’s Altar at the local grocery store.

Anyhoo, there was a celebration and a second line (a parade of sorts) and I bought groceries, but forgot to see about a lucky fava bean. So I took a ride to another altar.

Altar 2018

This one was more elaborate, and also had a place to petition for favors and express gratitude. Here’s a couple of young ‘uns doing just that: Petitioning St. Joe

I made a donation, and got a little goodie bag.

Goody Bag with Fava Bean

The fava bean is the thing at the bottom. Wish me luck!

Oh, and since this is a jewelry blog, here’s some Leda Jewel Co jewelry with inspired colors like the jaunt around town. Available in the shop: ledajewelco.com or click on a photo for more specific info.

Rose_Cut_Turquoise_Rubelite_Earrings

Rose Cut Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Earrings With Rubelite Drops

Black_Spinel_Sunstone_Earrings 1-2016

Rose Cut Oregon Sunstone Earrings With Black Spinel Drops

Purple_One_Earrings_1-2016

Deep Purple African Amethyst Earrings With Green Kyanite Drops

Rose_Cut_Peridot_Turquoise_Earrings5

Rose Cut Peridot Earrings With Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Drops

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