Thursday, June 4, 2009

Proud to Be Portuguese

Through my maternal grandfather I am part Portuguese and my husband's father's family has roots in the Portguese Azores. How do we celebrate this heritage? By trying to hit a few Portuguese Festas each Spring/Summer in our local area. These festas , if I understand correctly, are religious festivals celebrating the Holy Ghost and other historical traditions of the Portuguese. They consist of a parade including royally dressed queens and their courts, marching bands and floats. The previous year's queens and their courts carry their crowns to the chapel at the end of the parade and place them on the altar which represents the sacrifice Queen Santa Isabela of Portugal made for the people during a time of tragedy and famine. This of course leads to our favorite part of the Festa, the food.

Following the parade, the traditional Portuguese soupas meal is served to parade participants and the public. Soupas is a traditional Portuguese meal prepared in recognition of celebrations. It consists of meat marinated and cooked for many hours, served along side of sliced French-style bread that is soaking in the meat broth. Volunteers bring several pans of meat and bread to each of the tables, and as long as people are eating, the food keeps coming. The meat is usually extremely tender and moist and with a cold orange Crush soda to wash it down, it's an annual treat I truly enjoy.

This last Sunday Kyle, his brother and parents, the kids and I all attended one of these memorable Festas. It was Miss Em's first and McGee's third time at this particular location. Both of the kids really had fun watching the marching band and hearing the loud, traditional music. They handed out some sweet bread this year too which we all enjoyed and the time spent with Grammy and Papa was a true bonus!

McGee, Daddy, Uncle Matt & Grammy watching the parade

Miss Em enjoying the sun and fun

Portuguese Men...

...and their women

Sharing lupini beans

Daddy and Miss Em playing around, she likes to bite his nose (ouch!)
Daddy loving on his precious girl

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