Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Festa do Divino Espirito Santo ( Feast of the Holy Spirit)

The girls were honored to be asked to participate in the Festa this year on Pentecost Sunday (the descent of the Holy Spirit).  The Festa is a celebration of the Portuguese people of the Azore Islands.   A queen is chosen to represent Saint Queen Isabel (Elizabeth) of Portugal.  

The origin of the celebration is when the people of Portugal were starving.  Queen Isabel promised God if He would help her feed her people she would give him all her jewels.  Her cruel husband, King Diniz did not want her mingling with the poor.   He saw her with an apron and demanded she reveal the food she was carrying to the poor.  When she opened her cloak, instead of bread, roses poured out.

There are two special parts during the Festa demonstrating St. Isabel's full devotion to God.  One in Mass where "her" crown is placed on the altar (symbolizing St. Isabel giving up her riches for God) and the second during the feast of sopas when the Queen puts on her apron and serves the people the first portion.  In a spirit of Queen Isabel's offering, the meal is free to everyone.

The Queen this year was the girl's second cousin.  She made a beautiful, gracious Queen.  

It is nice the girls can participate in a piece of their heritage.  It is in a neighboring small farm community.  It's a beautiful day to see them in the parade, celebrate Mass in a small Chapel, and enjoy the feast surrounded by an orchard.  Maybe not far removed from the origins of this beautiful feast.  

No comments: