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How the Feast of San Gennaro Honors the Italian Tradition

Posted by Collin McGorty on Aug 23, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Feast of San Gennaro

For 11 days from September 14 through 24, the 91st Annual Feast of San Gennaro will take place across the streets of historic Little Italy. This festival, which celebrates the patron saint of Naples, Italy, will include religious processions, colorful parades, musical entertainment and a wide variety of Italian delicacies. If you’re interested in attending, here’s everything you need to know.

What to Expect at the Feast of San Gennaro

A Historic Tradition

The site of the Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy, served as the first home in America for hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants during the early part of the 20th century. That’s why Figli di San Gennaro Inc. (the Children of San Gennaro) chose it as the location of their annual salute to the patron saint of Naples, Saint Januarius.

Feast of San Gennaro

Originally, immigrants celebrated the feast by erecting a small chapel, hanging ribbon streamers on the saint’s statue and collecting money for the poor. However, over the years, it developed into an 11-day celebration of Italian religion, culture and cuisine.

The Feast Day of Saint Januarius

The entire festival is centered around the actual feast day of Saint Januarius, September 19. On this day, a celebratory Mass is held in the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood.

Afterwards, a religious procession carries the Statue of San Gennaro from its permanent home in the church throughout the streets of Little Italy.

Feast of San Gennaro

Festival Activities

Every afternoon of the fair, there will be free music and/or food demonstrations and lectures from 2 to 5 p.m. on the festival stage. Not to mention, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. every night, the stage will also host free musical entertainment from performers like Gianni Russo and The Devotions.

The Feast of San Gennaro will also feature plenty of other events and activities throughout the 11 days, such as:

  • Annual Cannoli Eating Competition (Friday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m.)
  • 2nd Annual Meatball Eating Contest (Saturday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • 100th Birthday Tribute to Dean Martin (Saturday, Sept. 23)
  • The Annual Feast of San Gennaro Blood Drive (Sunday, Sept. 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.)

Don’t forget, the grand parade procession will take place on Saturday, September 16 at 2 p.m., with Chazz Palminteri as the grand marshal. The parade will include floats, celebrities, marching bands and much more.


A trip to the Feast of San Gennaro is not complete without trying some delicious Italian cuisine. Besides all of the mouthwatering Little Italy restaurants, there will be plenty of treats like sausages, zeppoles, pizzas and cannolis.

Feast of San Gennaro

This year’s Feast of San Gennaro is expected to attract over one million people from all corners of the globe, so don’t miss out!

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Topics: Events, Festivals, Family