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Parade float, late 1930s
Parade float, late 1930s

The Madonna del Lume Celebration (Blessing of the Fishing Fleet)

Held the first weekend in October each year, this celebration has taken place for over 60 years in San Francisco. Named for the patroness of fishermen, it preserves an ancient Sicilian ritual brought to the United States by immigrants from Porticello. A memorial Mass is held for fishermen and seamen lost at sea at the Fishermen's and Seamen's Memorial Chapel, followed by a fishing boat parade and memorial ceremony at sea. The next day, a high Mass dedicated to the "Mother of the Light" is held with liturgy in Italian, followed by a procession in which the church's painting of the Madonna del Lume, a replica of the original in Porticello, is borne aloft. The blessing of the fleet follows, accompanied by musical performances and a Sicilian folklorist. The celebration concludes with a traditional dinner. Documentation consists of a videotape and audio cassettes of the 1999 Celebration, 27 pages of text, 18 photographs. a schedule of events, program from the mass, commemorative pin, and several newspaper articles.

Originally submitted by: Dianne Feinstein, Senator.



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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