I.D.E.S. (Irmandade do Divino Espirito Santo)
Purpose: To remember the courageous acts of Queen Isabella of Portugal during a great time of famine
with a thanksgiving celebration known as the Festa.
The Lovelock society holds this annual event on Memorial Day Weekend, which includes a traditional
procession of oxen, junior and senior queens, Mass at 10:30 am, and Sopa at 12:00 pm at the community center.
All celebrations are open to the public.
Contact: Darlene Moura
Written by Rosaline Mateas & Amy Moura Blanchard
Read by Amy Moura Blanchard at the May 24, 2015 Festa Mass
On behalf of the Portuguese Festa Committee here in Lovelock, along with Father Edgar, I would like to welcome all of you to our 81stth Annual Festa Mass. Many of you who have been attending our Festas in the past will have heard a version of the history I am about to read, but for those of you who are new to our Festa, we want you to understand the reason the Festa is held. Also, we feel it is important that our children understand why we hold our Festa and who they are representing by participating in the procession. So a big thank you for being a part of our celebration!!
The following is the history of the I.D.E.S. Pentecostal Festa, also known as a Holy Ghost Festa. The letters, I.D.E.S. are the initials of the words Irmandade do Divino Espirito Santo * Brotherhood of the Divine Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost Festa is a beloved Portuguese tradition, especially in the Azores and to those in America who are of Azorean descent. The religious celebration originated with Queen Isabel of Portugal, daughter of the king of Aragon, one of the ancient kingdoms of Spain. Queen Isabel was known for her piety, charity, and concern for the poor. She is listed as St. Elizabeth of Portugal in the roll book of saints. At the age of 12, Isabel was married to King Deniz of Portugal. During her reign, a widespread famine occurred in Portugal for many years. Because of this famine, Queen Isabel asked the people of Portugal to offer nine days of prayer, a novena, to the Holy Spirit. Nine days later, on the morning of Pentecost, ships laden with food sailed into the harbor of Lisbon. These ships were thought to be a miracle sent from the Holy Spirit to answer Queen Isabel*s prayers. The Queen paid for the food with her jewels and other personal belongings. She took her crown and with her ladies in waiting and her personal guard, walked to the Church. As she went, people joined the procession. At the Church, Queen Isabel placed her crown on the altar in an offering of thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit.
With this supply of cattle and grain, a large meal of meat and bread was prepared and a banquet served to the poor and hungry. She asked her subjects to commemorate this day of thanksgiving, to the Holy Spirit, each year. This event occurred almost 700 years ago. It is this event, which our Festa, sponsored by persons of Azorean-Portuguese descent, commemorates today. It is a celebration of thanksgiving for the many blessings the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us, as well as a celebration of devotion to God and love of country. *
Today in the procession, our Festa Queen represents Queen Isabel of Portugal. The crowns that McKenna, our senior queen, and Alyse, our junion queen, carry today (and which we place on the altar) are a symbol of the crown Queen Isabel placed on the altar so many years ago. The dove on the scepter and crown is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, whose love was so manifested in Queen (Saint) Isabel*s life. Today, McKenna was surrounded by Vernon, Devin, Timothy, and Conner, her Guard of Honor, just as Queen Isabel would have been surrounded by her guards so many years ago. The loaf of bread carried in our procession today by Kyle, who represents St. Anthony, the patron saint of Portugal, is a symbol of the bread and other alms Queen Isabel distributed to the poor.
*Again this year, we are privileged to include in our Procession an old, Azorean tradition * wooden carts pulled by oxen. Once again, as you saw this morning, these teams of oxen and their owners came to Lovelock from the Central Valley of California. We all enjoy seeing the beauty of the oxen and listening to the unique sound of the wooden carts. We appreciate that the owners of these beautiful animals, and their families, take the time to come to Lovelock to share in our celebration with us.
We would like to thank you, Father Edgar, for your help and assistance with our special celebration. While few people of Portuguese descent remain in Lovelock, it must be said that this celebration could not take place without the help of the parish and our community. Unlike so many family and cultural traditions that fade away through the years, we hope to keep our Portuguese Festa tradition going strong for years to come. It is wonderful, after 81 years, to see so many people here to help us celebrate this special tradition. So we thank you, and together we celebrate and give thanks for the mercy of our Lord and Holy Spirit.
We hope everyone enjoys our annual Festa. Thank you!