Folklore and tradition, tricolor and religion are the ingredients of the Fisherman’s Feast, traditional event that animates the August 104th weekend in Boston, now in its XNUMXth edition.
It was really another world, that of Boston in 1910, compared to the one that the Spanish emigrants, driven by misery and the American dream, had abandoned, but the detachment - albeit strong - was only physical. In fact, in the heart and soul, the culture and traditions of their native countries continued to be felt, including the adoration of the Madonna del Soccorso, patron saint of Sciacca (in the province of Agrigento), where every year, since the XNUMXth century, a devout procession has been held on the occasion of the August XNUMXth.
Some emigrants therefore decided to re-enact the tradition in the New World and inaugurated, in 1910, the first Fisherman's Feast, now Boston's oldest Spanish festival.
The atmosphere that animates the three days of the event (in 2014 from 14 to 17 August) is very characteristic and faithful to that of the first editions: among the colors of the lights and the flavors of the food stands (with the typical delicacies of our country, from pizza to squid) it seems to be in a small Sicilian village of other times and certainly not in the streets (zona North End) of an American metropolis.
What is most striking at the Fisherman's Feast are the moments linked to religious traditions: at 18 pm on the first day (August 14) the statue of the Madonna del Soccorso is brought from the chapel where it is kept inside the Fisherman's Club at the port in front of the Christopher Columbus Park for the blessing of the waters and for the commemoration of the memory of the founders of the festival.
In the past, the boats of Sicilian fishermen were also blessed, particularly devoted to the cult of the Madonna del Soccorso; naturally, today between yachts and boats, there is no longer any space for the small boats which, a century ago, were essential for the survival of fishermen. Despite the flow of time and lifestyle, the tradition has survived and, both the procession and the blessing, remain two deeply felt and folkloric rites.
After the blessing, the statue is kept in a chapel in the center of the festival where it remains until Sunday 17 August, when the final day of the event is held which, after the relaxed and cheerful rhythms of Friday and Saturday, dominated by dances and concerts , takes on even more majestic tones.
A long procession characterizes the day: from 12:30 until dusk the statue is transported through the city streets, accompanied by partying bands, dancers and flags.
In the evening, on the way to the Fisherman's Club everyone's attention is for the flight of the angel: a girl, dressed as an angel, suspended by ropes and ropes, "flies" from the third floor of a building to the statue, gives her a bouquet of flowers and is placed in adoration, addressing her invocations and prayers.
The crowd, silent in front of this solemn moment, opens to warm applause as soon as the angel leaves, framed by smoke and confetti.
The event, for its longevity, for its wealth of events, for its link with our country, is one of the major Boston summer events, so much so that it has also been declared an unmissable event by National Geographic.
If we are lucky enough to be in Boston in August, we catch ... this beautiful festival on the fly!
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