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Ethnic festival
Youth members of Espirito Santo posing with altar in rectory after mass, Ethnic festival, 2001; Festa Coroa do Espirito Santo; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Photography by Laura Orleans
Youth members of Espirito Santo posing with altar in rectory after mass, Ethnic festival, 2001
Festa Coroa do Espirito Santo
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Photography by Laura Orleans
Procession with banner from members of the Sao Laurenco group of Boston; Ethnic festival; 2001: New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford Espirito Santo group carrying crown and candles; Ethnic festival; 2001: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Children carrying crown and candles entering church; Ethnic festival; 2001: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Drummers and friends pose; Ethnic festival; 2001: New Bedford, Massachusetts
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Festa Coroa do Espirito Santo
New Bedford, MA
The Festo do Coroa do Espirito Santo honors the holy crown of the Holy Spirit. Originating in Portugal, this celebration was later brought to the island of Brava, Cape Verde In 1983, Maria Feitas established the festival in New Bedford. The Cape Verdean festival has its origins in a sea story which is kept in aural tradition. A merchant and crew traveled by sea from Brazil to Cape Verde. Devoted to the Holy Spirit, he carried the crown with him wherever he went. En route, the weather turned treacherous. Fearing for their lives, they prayed to the Holy Spirit. The merchant thought to himself, if we get saved, the first land that we are landed safe, I am going to leave this holy crown there and I will start this holy feast. They made it safely to the island of Brava where to this day the feast of the crown of the Holy Spirit is still celebrated.

The celebration begins with the Priest and several members of the Espirito Santo group of twelve couples meeting at the home of the mordom, the person in charge of the crown for that year, to pray together and bring the crown to the procession. A musical group leads the procession, traditionally there is a drummer. In between praying, participants sing Venite Adoramos, in Latin.

Each year, a different person is the,em> feistero, or mordom. This person sets up an altar in her house, typically with fresh flowers, candles, the Holy Bible, pictures of the Virgin Mary, and a rosary. Red and white are symbolic colors symbolizing Christ and the purity of the soul. The procession from the church carries the crown to this house, where it is placed in the altar. Food and drink are served, and after the prayer, everyone gathers for a good time. The crown then stays with that person for the entire year.

Pictured here are scenes from the 2001 festival. The procession began in New Bedford's Washington Square near the corner of County and Sixth Streets. In addition to members of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, New Bedford's Espirito Santo group, there were groups from Brockton, Boston, and Scituate. Each group had a banner and wore colored sashes. The procession also included a youth group from the church composed of a dozen teenage girls in red robes and four young children in white communion dresses and suits, carrying candles, the crown, and a silver staff topped with a dove. They were followed by the Bishop of Cape Verde, and the Priests and Deacons. A car with a loudspeaker brought up the rear of the procession and led everyone in saying/singing rosaries and songs, punctuated by the drum. As the procession moved through the neighborhood, people joined the procession, walking to the church to attend mass.
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