Last Sunday (26 May 2002), I went to a Festa Portuguesa (Portuguese Feast) in Norco, California, USA. My daughter went with me. It was a Feast in honor of the Holy Spirit. They say that many years ago, Queen Isabel (Queen Elizabeth of Portugal) was visited by the Holy Spirit who told her that her people were dying because they did not have enough to eat. The queen opened her kitchen to feed everyone. Today, Portuguese people all around the world have Feasts to celebrate that visitation.
First we watched the parade. Children brought bread and other things to the church. Later, we went into the church for Mass. I do not speak very much Portuguese, I am learning now. But I lived in Spain for seven years and I could understand the Portuguese Mass. Religion is similar in different countries. If you are in another country where you don't understand the language or the customs, all you have to do is go to a celebration from your same religion and you will feel "at home". Celebrations are similar, it does not matter what language is used.
After the Mass, we went to eat. They served a traditional meal of a beef soup made with cabbage and bread. They also made some special loaves of bread to give to the children. After all the food, they served some delicious desserts.
I am not Portuguese (I am American) but everybody accepted me as one of the family. I want to go back again next year.
24 June 2002
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