St. Anthony Feast 2014 a Boston

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Boston, in August, certainly does not go on vacation: as soon as the Caribbean carnival is goodbye, it is ready to propose another festival, the St. Anthony Feast, a mix of religion and folklore that animates the weekend of Labour Day a Boston.

A few days away from Fisherman's Feast, North End (aka Little Italy) pays homage to our country: now in its 95th edition, the festival was born by the will of a group of Spanish emigrants, coming from Montefalcione, in the province of Avellino, back in 1919.

Despite its longevity, the festival always attracts thousands and thousands of people, so much so that it is considered the New England's largest Spanish religious festival and deserved the title of "holiday party" by National Geographic.

Understanding why, it will certainly not be difficult: just go down the picturesque streets of North End a Boston to immerse ourselves in another world, illuminated by the lights and full of the typical smells of our cuisine (from zeppole to arancini, from cannoli to pizza), enlivened by the concerts and entertainment offered.

The heart of the festival are the religious celebrations, dedicated to both Sant'Antonio da Padova and Santa Lucia. On Fridays and Saturdays, short processions, exhibitions and blessings are held with the Statue of St. Anthony, a crescendo of rituals that sees in the Sunday 31 the culmination of the festivities.

After the solemn Mass (at 10.30), there is the great procession that, from 12 and for 10 hours, will invade the streets of North End with the partying bands, the dance corps and the tricolor flags waving. At about 21.30 pm the procession ends and the statue is brought back to Endicott Street where it is kept, covered by the throwing of sugared almonds and streamers.

On Monday 1 September, however, the rites are all in honor of Saint Lucia: since Sunday evening, at about 22.45 pm, the statue is exhibited and will be carried in procession starting at 15 pm on Monday. These celebrations also last until the statue is placed back in the late evening.

Let's take part in this festival and, in addition to fun and entertainment, we will also be able to imagine what ray of sunshine it represented for the first generations of emigrants: openly celebrating one's origins will certainly have been a great comfort in a new and distant world.

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