The Annual Feast of San Gennaro is an 11-day celebration of the Patron Saint of Naples, which occurs from Sept. 14 to Sept. 24 in 2017. The day was first celebrated in New York City on Sept. 19, 1926, by newly arrived immigrants from Naples. The Feast of San Gennaro was a traditional celebration in Naples for St. Gennaro, who was martyred for the faith in the year 305. Immigrants who settled along Mulberry Street in the Little Italy section of Lower Manhattan, New York City, continued their traditional celebration with a one-day feast.
Sept. 19th is the most religious day of the Festival of San Gennaro and features a celebratory Mass at Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood on Mulberry Street, the National Shrine of San Gennaro. The statue of San Gennaro is carried from the church through the streets of Little Italy in a procession that follows the Mass. During the rest of the festival, you'll find parades, live music daily, and an abundance of ethnic foods to try. The Feast of San Gennaro attracts as many as 1 million people to Little Italy each year.
Things to Do at the Feast of San Gennaro
- Have lunch or dinner at one of Little Italy's restaurants
- Watch one of the processions
- Listen to the musical performances every night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on the Festival Stage at the corner of Grand and Mott streets
- Try your luck at the many carnival games
- Eat traditional San Gennaro Festival foods from street vendors along Mulberry Street
- Zeppole: Fried dough with powdered sugar
- Mostaccioli Ripieni: Italian chocolate cookies with fruit and nuts inside
- Gelato: That's Italian for ice cream
- Torrone: Italian candy made from honey, sugar, and egg whites
- Pork Braciole: Thinly pounded pork rolled up with garlic, cheese, pepper, and oregano inside
- Fried Oreos
- Sausage and peppers
Getting to the Feast of San Gennaro
- The Feast runs along Mulberry Street between Canal Street on the south and Houston Street on the north. It takes place east to west on Grand and Hester streets between Mott and Baxter streets
- The closest subways to the Feast of San Gennaro are the 6 to Spring Street and the N/R to Prince Street
Tips for Visiting the Feast of San Gennaro
- Crowds tend to be biggest on weekends and in the evening. Go on a weekday if you want to avoid them.
- If you're bringing small children, you will find it easiest to navigate the narrow streets if you wear them in a carrier, but a stroller is a good idea if you're worried about keeping track of bigger kids in the crowd.
- Take some time to assess the various vendors and what you'd like to eat -- you'll be full before you reach the next stand if you don't pace yourself.
- Festival vendors are open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays)