05 September 2010

Portuguese Festa: Celebrating Tradition

September marks the annual Our Lady of Miracles Festa celebration in Gustine, California. The tradition of festas was brought to America by the Portuguese who immigrated here primarily from the Azores and Madeira Islands. Combining religious symbolism and history with social events they are observed in Portuguese American communities throughout California, Hawaii and New England. Featuring traditions of food, music and costume the festivities last several days. The photo is a detail of American Russell Lee's (1903-1986) image from a 1942 Festa of the Holy Ghost in Santa Clara, California of a Festa Queen and her court. Depicting Portuguese jewelry and costume of the Minho region is Auguste Racinet's late nineteenth century book, Le Costume Historique. The Laura Costa illustration of Azorian costume is a part of a Portuguese mid-twentieth century sewing machine promotion that documented national and colonial costumes.


  1. So beautiful, the Portuguese, especially the Azorians, have wonderful traditions. My grandmother always talks about the tiles they had in her house in the islands.

  2. Thank you Kevin, I've been to Fayal and Pico Islands and they are hauntingly beautiful. Best, Kendra

  3. As a New Jersey native, we would pop over to Newark occasionally, and in a watered down fashion, the Portuguese quarter, the Ironbound, was a tiled wonderland. Plus of course the food.
    Thanks Kendra.

  4. You are welcome Leonard! My mother's family were from the Azores and settled in the Sacramento area but I was raised very Anglo-Irish. I've come to embrace the Portuguese culture as an adult and often go to Festa in Gustine and Sausalito. Best, Kendra


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