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Portuguese Holy Ghost Association celebrates Festa

Traditional festival honors Queen Isabel of Portugal
By: Nelson Medeiros Special to The News Messenger
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Our traditional Festa is based on Queen Isabel of Portugal. Also known as St. Elisabeth of Aragon, the Queen of Portugal during the 13th century performed many miracles in her sacrifice for the poor and the sick. She was always a giving queen out of spite from her husband King Denis of Portugal. During her reign as queen of Portugal, there were natural disasters, there was drought, crop failure and finally a cruel famine that broke the people’s faith. In her desperation and suffering, the queen went to the altar of the church to pray to the Holy Ghost for help, saying she would sacrifice her crown to the church on the altar to give herself in sacrifice for her people. The prayers were answered, and what followed was a miracle. A ship arrived in the port laden with food that fed the famished and restored the people’s faith. This day of restored faith was celebrated with a feast for all. We share in this tradition with our Festa. Our Festa is for everyone to enjoy — everyone is invited. There is a lot of hard work from a community of volunteers to put this together every year and our only source of funding for this event comes from donations from the public, local businesses and city support. We plan on continuing this traditional event for centuries to come for the community to enjoy. The Portuguese Holy Ghost Association Festa takes place on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. The Associacao Portuguesa Divino Espirito Santo (Association Portuguese of the Divine Holy Spirit) has announced that this is the 85th annual Festa. Our committee’s president is Maria Pinguelo-Ordorica of Auburn, vice president is Nelson Medeiros of Lincoln, secretary is Maria Laura Faria of Newcastle and treasurer is Rosa Silva-Tichauer of Roseville. I consider the Portuguese Festa in Lincoln as one of Placer County’s premier cultural events, with the traditional Portuguese soupas (pronounced soapash) that we serve to everyone. Soupas is a traditional meal that is normally only made for celebration. Soupas is best described as wine-marinated beef cooked throughout the night, served with a French bread soaked in the beef sauce. The cooking of the soupas is a tradition that the Jacinto family has been cooking for the Lincoln Festa for decades and generations. This is a lot of hard work; we have a dedicated group of volunteers that always enjoy the results. We normally expect to feed 5,000-plus people on Sunday when soupas is served from 11 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. Our event kicks off Saturday evening with a procession, which this year will leave from the house of Nelson Medeiros on B and Fifth streets at 8 p.m. This is when last year’s queens will take the crowns to the park to place on the altar for the traditional sacrifice of riches for the poor and the sick. Saturday night at the McBean Park Pavilion will then consist of formal announcements of the big queens and little queens and their court, followed by music and dancing free to the public until late into the night. Portuguese and American music will be performed by Emily Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night will also have a no-host bar and open beer garden for everyone to enjoy. Linguica and hot dogs will be sold at the linguica stand next to the pavilion Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, our event normally starts with a parade. For 83 years, the parade went to the old St. Joseph Catholic Church on Sixth and D Street. But now, St. Joseph Catholic Church is off Oak Tree Lane off Highway 193. We are unable to obtain a permit to parade to the new church. This year, there will be mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 10 a.m., which will be a bilingual mass in Portuguese and English. The city of Lincoln is providing a bus to shuttle people from McBean Park to the church and return from 9 a.m. to noon. Once the congregation arrives back at McBean Park at noon, the parade will start with marching bands, floats and other Portuguese associations throughout the Central Valley, along with their representing queens. The parade will go through its traditional route through downtown Lincoln from A Street to Sixth Street, then to F Street and Fifth Street, returning to McBean Park to enjoy a soupas feast. At approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday, there will be a live auction at the McBean Park Pavilion that will offer the public a chance to bid on donated Portuguese homemade breads, cheese, sweets, linguica and wines, along with many other donated specialty gifts. After the auction is completed, there will be music and dancing free to the public till late in the night. As always, as long as I can remember, the carnival arrives in town for the Festa, opening to the public on Thursday, April 24 at 5 p.m., continuing Friday and Saturday and ending by Sunday evening.