This is my absolute favorite parade of the year… The Bodo de Leite Parade is a time to really see Azorean culture on display and celebrated! It’s like a party in the street, and when Portuguese people throw a party, we throw a party! There are costumes and music, livestock and floats, and food and drinks all around! The Great Feast of the Holy Ghost is held in Fall River, Massachusetts each August. The parade on Saturday starts at the “Portas de Cidade” (“Gates of the City” – a replica of the gates in Ponta Delgada, St. Michael, Azores) and ends at Kennedy Park where the feast itself takes place. This is only one of the many events that takes place each year, there is also a big Procession, which is a religious type parade, on Sunday where anyone who has held a Holy Ghost week in their home is welcome to participate whether through their church or a Holy Ghost Society, hence the name “The Great Feast of the Holy Ghost” (If you will recall, I wrote about the Holy Ghost Feast at my church earlier this summer.)
At most parades, kids love picking up the candy that is thrown out to them from parade floats, I know my kids do. And they loved doing that at this parade too… but, that is far from where the handing out of food stops. Onlookers at this parade can expect to be handed out sweet bread and milk which is where the idea for this parade really all started, like a sort of Portuguese Halloween to celebrate the harvest… But, it doesn’t stop there, this year we were able to sample beer and wine freely poured by several passing floats and servers that walk along the parade route too! As for food… that gets cooked as the floats pass by, grills are propped right onto the flatbed trucks that are carrying the beautiful displays of our heritage… We enjoyed grilled fish, chourico, cooked corn kernels, steak, and hot dogs and watermelon for the kids.
The Holy Ghost tradition is about giving back to the community and feeding the poorest of the poor, so all can enjoy the blessing of the Holy Ghost. This thought process is deeply rooted in the Portuguese mindset and is reflected in the works of the participants of this parade. Yes, it’s a great time, but it’s so much more than that, and it’s truly wonderful to see. When you are Portuguese, it is hard to forget your Catholic roots because it is all around you and events like this one really bring that home. When my parents and grandparents and parents before them grew up in St. Michael, wealth was far from plentiful, people made do, but community and that spirit of giving, I believe, was a big reason they did. I am so happy to share all of this beautiful history and heritage with my children each year and expose them to this spirit of giving and celebration of our culture.
And that’s all she wrote, it was a great time, we really enjoy it every year! Can’t wait to see it again next year! If you don’t already, you should think about checking it out!
Now onto the nighttime entertainment at the feast, the Marc Dennis concert!
You can buy one of Marc Dennis’ most popular albums here, Marc Dennis ‘Superman’
I hope you enjoyed my take on this wonderful cultural experience!