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Observations placeholder

Saint Joseph, broad beans and the making of rain in Sicily



Type of Spiritual Experience


I have cheated here, as it was not the broad beans that allowed him to control the weather, but it enables me to make a link to the vegetable

A description of the experience

Scientific American - Fava-the Magic Bean - By Layla Eplett on August 8, 2012

With evidence of their incorporation into diets dating back to at least 6000 BC, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants. Their hardiness and ability to endure cold climates contributed to their endurance as a crop. It also earned the beans magical status in Sicily, where they were considered more than merely food.

Sicily experienced a serious drought in the Middle Ages that led to hunger and crop destruction. Sicilians prayed to Saint Joseph for rain. He answered their prayers by making it rain, not in the way Fat Joe might in da club, but by actually making it rain. The hearty fava beans were the only crops to be salvaged and helped prevent a famine.

Since then, Sicilians have honored Saint Joseph annually on March 19th. Part of the festivities on Saint Joseph’s Day include placing fava beans in church altars and incorporating fava beans into the accompanying feasts. On the day they are traditionally sown, All Souls Day, fava bean shaped cakes are baked in their honor, known as fave dei morti or “beans of the dead.”

The source of the experience

Other religious person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Weather control


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Broad beans