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The ‘Tavole di san Giuseppe’ a traditional event in Salento

The traditional “tavole di san Giuseppe” (Saint Joseph’s tables) are big tables laden with food in honour of Saint Joseph the 19th of Murch, in many villages of Salento Giurdignano, Uggiano La Chiesa, Casamassella, Cocumola, Minervino di Lecce, Giuggianello e San Cassiano; but it’s also a tradition of some villages in the North of Salento as Lizzano, San Marzano di San Giuseppe, Sava, Monteparano, San Pietro Vernotico, Erchie and San Donaci.

In the ancient tradition the richest family offered meal to poor people. The rite keep together tradition and sacred elements.

Nowadays the Saint Joseph’s tables are prepared on 18th-19th of March, they set in the main square of the village and they can get the 40 mt.

There are 13 people, The Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Jesus more than 10 saints: Saint Anne, Saint Elisabeth, San Gioacchino, Saint Philip, Saint John , S.Maria Cleofe, S. Agnese, Saint Joseph from Arimatea.

The ‘table’ is usually made by 13 meals, in Salento only 9 and they have symbolic meanings: the pasta with chickpea (massa in dialect) which represents the narcissus’ plant; the ‘lampagioni‘ with oil and vinegar, symbol of the passage from winter to spring; the fried fish which remember Jesus; the cauliflower which symbolized the flowering cane of Saint Joseph, the ‘ncarteddhate‘(typical salentini sweets with honey) symbol of the baby’s Jesus’s strips; and the stockfish the meal of the great occasions.

Not to be missed the ‘tortini’ (bread with a donut’s shape of 5 or 3 Kg) with an image of Saint Joseph in the centre, an orange and a fennel.

Everything is made with devotion and praiers, the man who makes Saint Joseph decides the rythm of the meal.


It is an event full of tradition, religiousness and devotion, exhiting and unique to be lived in Salento.


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