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Holy Ghost Festas -- Impérios

Small structures with a distinct architectural style where the faithful conduct their rituals in devotion to the Holy Spirit.

Years:  1885 — 2020

An "irmandade" (brotherhood) is organized around the "Império do Divino Espírito Santo" (Chapel of the Divine Holy Spirit), normally a small structure with a distinct architectural style where the faithful conduct their rituals. The architecture of impérios varies from island to island in the Azores; from simple tile-roofed buildings (Santa Maria) to grand chapels with ornate facades and crowned with an imperial crown (Terceira). Replicated by the Holy Ghost societies in California, they are a distinctive aspect of the tradition.  Over the years, they have evolved from simple buildings with unique designs to more elaborate and beautiful structures.

The império is used as a place to store the reliquaries, pennants, and symbols; to cook and/or distribute the offerings; and to perform some of the religious services associated with the festa. The appearance of permanent impérios began in the last half of the 19th century. Before then, the irmandades would conduct their services in "teatros", structures constructed for the events, that were later torn down.

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