St Joseph's Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Joseph, is being observed on Friday. While the day is supposed to be celebrated with the biggest feasts, it has arrived during Lent, a 40-day period being observed from February 17 to April 3, where Catholics abstain from luxuries and do not eat any meat, except fish, on Fridays in preparation for Easter.
This is not the first time when religious observances with different obligations have fallen on the same day. Every year during Lent, two major feast days take place- St Joseph Day and the Solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation. The latter will be observed on March 25 this year.
The feast days or solemnities are days in the Catholic church where saints and remarkable events in the Bible are celebrated. They are not always honoured with a feast but instead mean an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint. However, St Joseph's Day involves a number of traditional dishes that include bread in symbolic shapes, dried figs, olive salad and fava beans.
So how do Catholics celebrate the feast days when they occur on a Friday during Lent?
As per the laws of the Catholic Church, Canon 1251 from the 1983 Code of Canon Law tells what to do in the situation.
It says, "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."
This means that when a feast day falls during Lent, the celebration of the solemnity overrides Lent's requirement.