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Festas do Espírito Santo - a sense of community and faith in the Azores

The Festas do Espírito Santo, or the Feast of the Holy Spirit, is a highlight of life in the Azores, helped to develop a sense of community characteristic to the culture of the islands. Azorean families who live North America return to the islands to celebrate with their friends and relatives. All are welcome!


The Festa do Espírito Santo is based distribution of bread on the Feast of the Holy Spirit and has its origin in the giving of food to the poor by Sainted Queen Isabel (1271-1336).

 The king D. Dinis (1261-1325) was to wed a princess from Aragon, Isabel.

Isabel’s overwhelming generosity and concern for the poor that D. Dinis most admired. She we known for helping those in need – and was beloved by the people.


Today, the soup of the Holy Spirit varied from island to island, town to town – mostly made with meat and vegetables and served with sweet bread – or massa, which is distributed to all.

The focus of ceremonies is a small chapel or Imperio, used for the distribution of the soup of the Holy Spirit. That is where the crown and scepter board and are on display on the altar. The islanders gather to the feast accompanied by bands, dances and floral displays. 


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