Another tradition of celebrating San Giuseppe on 19 March began in Sicily in the Middle Ages during a terrible drought. People prayed San Giuseppe to help them, and rain came. In gratitude, huge banquet tables were prepared and anybody was invited to eat as much as they wanted.
In many Italian localities the feast was often associated to bonfires and preparing (and eating) zeppole. Bonfires were inherited from pagan rural cults: 19 march marked the end of winter, and fires were made to burn all remains of previous harvests on the fields; youths, feeling the new spring air, jumped beyond the dying fires -- and still today in Italy the tradition of eating the famous zeppole is kept everywhere, and it is a feast for children to prepare them with mothers (and fathers). The religious aspects of the figure of San Giuseppe are examined in the Congregazione di S. Giuseppe - Giuseppini del Murialdo