American children of Madeiran descent dressed in traditional Madeiran outfits in preparation to march in the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament parade, August 1, 1999. Photo: John K. Robson
Feast of the Blessed Sacrament
The largest Portuguese feast in the world and
the largest ethnic festival in New England, this annual
four-day event draws more than 250,000 visitors to New Bedford
in midsummer. It begins with the Benediction of the Blessed
Sacrament, a medieval ritual of devotion, followed by a parade
lasting two and a half hours. Traditional Portuguese food is
served, and music is performed by both Portuguese and American
artists. The original feast was a strictly religious
celebration begun in 1915 by four Madeiran immigrants as a
re-creation of the feast celebrated in their home
The project includes a 15-page essay on the history
and traditions of the feast, 26 photographs, news clippings,
promotional brochures, copies of a flyer for the 1999 event, a
souvenir program from the 85th anniversary feast held in 1999, and
information on Club Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, Inc., the sponsors
of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.
Originally submitted by: Barney Frank, Representative (4th District).
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.