Every year, New York celebrates the popular Feast of San Gennaro in September. What began as a humble one-day feast has turned into an 11-day extravaganza that celebrates Italian culture and religious traditions, topped off by a celebratory Mass and candlelit procession in honor of the Patron Saint of Naples, and attracting over 1-million visitors.
This year’s Feast of San Gennaro will run from September 13th to the 23rd. The festival will include a culinary heaven, featuring the wares of 35 of Little Italy’s top restaurants, as well as the offerings of local street vendors. The event even hosts an exciting cannelloni eating competition that draws crowds by the hundreds! Music is the heart and soul of the Feast of San Gennaro, and visitors can enjoy live band entertainment, popular Italian folksongs, pop singers and more. More than 300 licensed vendors will offer visitors a chance to purchase arts and crafts, festival souvenirs, food and others.
Special events for this year’s San Gennaro festival include the Blessing of the Stands on the opening evening of the festival, where the priests from the Most Precious Blood Church give their blessings to the festival’s vendors and stallholders. On Saturday, September 15th, the statue of San Gennaro leaves its home in the church and is carried lovingly through the streets of Little Italy in the Grand Procession. On Wednesday, September 19th, the religious nature of the festival comes to the fore with a Celebratory Mass led by the pastor of the Most Precious Blood Church, Father Fabian, and a religious procession immediately afterwards. All the parades follow the same route, beginning on Mulberry Street (between Canal and Bayard Streets) and winding along to East Houston Street, Mott Street, Grand Street and finally back to Mulberry and Canal Streets.