Portuguese Festival of the Holy Ghost

The Portuguese American Club held its annual Festival of the Holy Ghost this past Saturday and Sunday in Oak Bluffs.

The legend goes that in the 1300s Queen Isabelle saw that her people were starving in Portugal. “She would try to feed the poor. And that’s where the soup comes from," explained Festival of the Holy Ghost attendee, Peg Pacheco. "And actually the legend goes that she hid bread in her skirt. And when her husband asked her what she was carrying, she said “flowers” and when she opened her skirt, there were roses. So it was a miracle. She also took her crown and put it on the peasants. So for a day they claimed that the people were in charge."

Depending on who you ask, there are slight variations on the story. But some traditions are steadfast. This weekend, residents and visitors alike celebrated Martha's Vineyard's deep Portuguese heritage at the Festival of the Holy Ghost at the in Oak Bluffs.

"When you come to the Festival of the Holy Ghost, you have to give your soup away at least one of the days to keep feeding your community," explained Club President, Tricia Bergeron. 

"In my home, in Forest Hills, Rhode Island they take a crown and put it on a child so that she is the Queen for the day," said Pacheco. 

No matter which traditions are celebrated or what variation of the legend is told, the heart of the festival is the celebration of Portuguese culture. " I do it because it's my heritage," said Bergeron "I just want to keep it going."

Saturday night there was a party at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs with food, drinks and an auction. Sunday was the ceremonial parade and graveyard visit. Throughout the entire festival was music and celebrating. 

MARISA July 24, 2012 at 03:51 PM


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