|Statue of San Gennaro|
The Feast of San Gennaro is New York City’s longest-running, biggest and most revered religious outdoor festival. It is being held on the streets of historic Little Italy in lower Manhattan from September 15-25. Little Italy served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants who came to America to improve their lives beginning in the early part of the 20th century.
Since 1996, Figli di San Gennaro, Inc. (Children of San Gennaro), a not-for-profit community organization dedicated to keeping alive the spirit and faith of the early Italian immigrants, has been sponsoring the annual celebration. This year’s Feast is expected once again to draw more than a million visitors to participate in the annual Salute to the Patron Saint of Naples. Although this is an annual celebration of faith and redemption, the Feast of San Gennaro is known worldwide for its festive atmosphere, an 11-day event featuring religious processions and colorful parades, free musical entertainment, a wide variety of ethnic food delicacies, charming restaurants and cafes with indoor and outdoor dining, and even a cannoli-eating competition. There are hundreds of licensed street vendors selling international foods and Little Italy souvenirs. Today, September 19th, is the central focus of the celebration being the official Saint Day when a celebratory Mass is held in Most Precious Blood Church, followed immediately by a religious procession. The Statue of San Gennaro is carried from its permanent home in the church through the streets of Little Italy.