Today, San Diego's Portuguese Community celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo.
A religious tradition brought by the early immigrants from the Azores, it is now San Diego's oldest ethnic religious festival.
The centennial parade was comprised of more than nine hundred children, several floats, visiting queens and bands, past Festa presidents and queens. It included varied dignitaries, including San Diego's Mayor and local Councilmen, as well as the Mayor of the town of São Roque, Pico, Azores, the Secretary for Portuguese Communities from Lisbon and the Consuls of Portugal from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
It is estimated that around 8,000 persons viewed the parade. A high mass was held culminating with the crowning of the Festa Queen and King.
When the parade re- formed and returned to the United Portuguese S.E.S. Hall, “Sopas” were served to members of the community, the dignitaries and Queen and King, the Festa, President and Family.
During the day, “Sopas” were served to some 5,000 persons both, inside the main hall and in a tent purposely erected for the event.
During the main serving, Michael Feliciano, in whose memory the “Festa” was held, was remembered.
During the day the bazaar, “Arraial” was open, where all enjoyed games, the foods of Portugal, as well as watching folkloric groups from various Portuguese Communities in California and listening to music of Portuguese marching bands from other communities.
Evelyn da Rosa Feliciano, her Family and the hundred of volunteers that help put on the event are to be congratulated for a job well done with a lot of love and class.
José M. L. Alves