Thursday, August 11, 2011


Going out for coffee can turn into quite an adventure. Two weekends ago there was that traffic snarl when the skyway bridge was closed (which turned out to have a tragic story of a woman killed when she jumped out of a moving car).

Last weekend it was a parade along the streets in front of the cafe. After navigating the police car blocked off streets by the cafe, I parked and followed it for a bit, trying to guess what it was in aid of. It looked like some kind of saints parade that ended at the St Mary's Catholic Church.

The incense was a bit overpowering.

It may have been the heat, or the heavy clothes the participants were wearing, but none of them looked particularly happy to be walking. At one point I saw a queen flanked by two princesses (couldn't quite read the rest of the banner), the queen was too busy texting to wave to the bystanders.

The church was nicely decorated with strings of lights and I meant to go back to get better shots of it when the parade ended and I had finished my coffee, but I forgot.
There was a lot of finery and each group of women had on the same outfits (I guess the men did, too, but it was harder to differentiate) but the shiny, bright evening wear belied a certain insouciance. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe they had been marching for hours already and were just tired. But I found my initial excitement at seeing the little girls wearing garlands and angels wings, and the priests dressed in their robes with mitres and the marching band just vanished into a bit of ennui. (I suppose some Portuguese might have been more appropriate than French, but I don't know any.)

I can't wait to see what diversion this weekend will provide.


  1. Great photos, I wouldn't be smiling if it was as hot there and it has been here.

  2. Gail:
    We only had that one day that it got over 100F. I don't know how you all have survived this heat down your way!

  3. 'too busy texting to wave' - I laughed aloud at that.

  4. The Portuguese always seem to have something going on. There always seems to be some party on at the Portuguese church near where I live.

  5. jabblog: :)

    jazz: I wonder if it is still like that in Portugal, or if it just the expats who cling to an older culture?

  6. Texting? Wonder why someone didn't tell her to put her phone away, for goodness sake.

  7. SAW: I know, it truly looked as if most of the participants had little interest in being there.

  8. Great photos - and those men look really hot in their robes AND collars and ties!

    Interesting though, I didn't know the Catholic church did such parades any more. But maybe Spanish and Portuguese churches do, even when they are in Canada!

  9. Typical teenage girl, in spite of her regal costume. :)

  10. Gilly: I didn't either (but then, I am not Catholic so really have no idea of these things) according to one of the cops on traffic duty this church has a lot of them.

    Susan: (nice to see you again!) I suppose it is.

  11. OH dear! The queen was too busy texting to wave? It's so sad it's funny. :))

  12. "Three holidays that the Portuguese immigrants have continued to observe since they came to North America are the Festival of the Blessed Sacrament, the Festival of the Holy Ghost, and the Senhor da Pedra Festival. The Festival of the Blessed Sacrament is the largest Portuguese American celebration that starts the first weekend in August and lasts four days. It has no religious connotation and is used for socializing. The Festival of the Holy Ghost is celebrated on a weekend between Easter and the Fourth of July depending on the area. The Senhor da Pedra Festival is celebrated the last Sunday of August." ~Portuguese of North America (It's a pdf that I found when I Googled...was going to paste the link addy here but it's HUGE!

    So the banner looks like this was the Festival of the Holy Ghost, doesn't it? ...but it's timed wrong, or maybe it's a local thing.


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