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Portuguese Footprints -- The Festas

The most important cultural event in the California Portuguese-American community is the Holy Ghost Festa.

Years:  1887 — 2020

The Portuguese Holy Ghost Festa is the most important cultural event in the California Portuguese-American community.  It is a transformative event, weaving together in its tapestry many important elements of the community.  The “festa” brings together the physical aspects of the Portuguese hall, the “império”, and the bull rings.  Added to these are the symbolic elements of the crown, the ox carts, and the floats.  Finally, the festa unites the human elements of the queens, the marching bands, the cooks, and the organizers.

The event, normally lasting three days, is the culmination of a year’s work and fundraising.  As of 2003, there were 76 organizations sponsoring festas throughout the state.  Although, in some areas, festa activity seems to be tapering off; while in others, it is expanding and creating larger and more beautiful expositions.

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