St. Joseph Wishing Beans (Vicia fava)
The association of Fava beans (aka St. Joseph Wishing Beans, African Mojo Beans, Mojo Beans) with luck began during the famine in Sicily, where the bean was used as an agricultural feed for livestock. To survive, they were used as a major food for farmer's families, as well. Hence, they considered themselves lucky to have them. The bean is also a symbol of fertility since it grows well even in poor, rocky soil. Italians would carry a bean from a good crop to ensure a good crop the following year. In New Orleans, they play a large role in the Sicilian tradition of the St. Joseph Table or St. Joseph Altar. They are traditionally served in a frittata or in garlic sauce. When dried, roasted and blessed, they become the infamous "lucky bean." Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry one. Devout Catholics believe that if you keep one in the pantry, there will always be food in the kitchen (Viva San Giuseppe by St. Joseph Guild).
Bowls of these beans are kept on St. Joseph altars on St. Joseph's day and they are taken by devotees and kept for good luck. Make a wish and put a Lucky St. Joseph Wishing Bean in your pocket. Carry it for 7 days. At dawn on the seventh day, go to a river, stream or creek with running water and call out your wish. Follow by saying “in the name of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” and throw the bean over your left shoulder into the water. Walk away, without looking back. It is said your wish will come true in 7 days. You may also keep the bean in a mojo bag for good luck. You will receive seven St. Joseph Wishing beans.
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