The Grandes Festas do Divino Espírito Santo da Nova Inglaterra (Great Feast of the Holy Ghost of New England) commences in just a few days. We included it on our list of must-visit New England festas.
The festa takes place Wednesday, August 23, 2017 – Monday, August 28, 2017. Its humble beginnings can be traced back to March 8, 1986, when Heitor Sousa, a native of Rabo de Peixe (São Miguel, Azores) conceived the idea at the office of Commercial dos Açores, Inc in Fall River, MA. The devotion to the Divine is well-known among Azorean immigrants who are active members of many Impérios (Empires) and Irmandades (Brotherhoods), in which they honor the Holy Spirit. Heitor and others wished to bring together all these groups of people, who were (and still are) spread across a vast geographic area. The festival was to take place in Kennedy Park, with religious ceremonies occurring across the street at Saint Ann’s Church.
Thousands of people now flock to the annual festival, which takes place on the last weekend of August. Groups from across New England, Canada and up and down the East Coast participate.
The festivities begin on Wednesday, the 23rd, with the recitation of the Rosary, following the serving of the soup of the Holy Ghost. Kennedy Park will open on the 24th and include performances by The Old School Band and The Portuguese Kids, among others.
On Friday (25th), pensões are to be distributed, following a blessing by D. João Lavrador, Bishop of the Azores, D. Edgar Moreira da Cunha, Bishop of Fall River, along with other dignitaries and community leaders.
The highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly the cortejo etnográfico, which takes off from the Portas da Cidade
(Gates to the City) in Fall River, before heading up Columbia Ave and South Main Street, with its final destination being Kennedy Park. Immediately following the parade, a folklore festival will take place in Kennedy Park, featuring groups from Bermuda, New Jersey and across New England. The evening’s entertainment includes performances from local artist as well as the international artist, Ágata.
Mass will take place on Sunday afternoon presided by D. João Lavrador, Bishop of the Azores, D. Edgar
Moreira da Cunha, Bishop of Fall River, followed by the procession and crowning. Sunday night’s entertainment features Roberto Leal.
A closing banquet will take place on Monday evening.
This year’s guests of honor include:
- José Luís Carneiro, Secretary of State for the Communities
- Rui Bettencourt, Regional Adjunct Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations
- Paulo Teves, Regional Director of the Communities of the Azores
- John Medeiros, entrepreneur, representing the local communities
- Mayor Jasiel Correia, of Fall River
For more information regarding the festival, visit their website.
Click the following link to view 2017 photos of the Fall River’s Bodo de Leite and Ethnographic Parade