Portuguese city celebration
A block party to celebrate 170 years of Portuguese culture in Bermuda brought a sea of colour to the streets of Hamilton tonight.
More than 1,000 people packed Reid Street, where the area around the Vasco da Gama Club has been closed off until midnight for food and festivities.
Antonio Amaral, a farmer whose Azorean ancestry goes back to the fishing village of Rabo de Peixe turned out for the “sights and sounds and food”.
Mr Amaral said: “My mom’s 90 years old and she doesn’t do much cooking, so it’s good to come to something like this and get some cuisine.
“This is a one-off holiday, the first, and it’s a good thing for all of us. Obviously Bermuda is multicultural now and the Portuguese play a large part in our make-up.
“Through the generations, everybody has integrated into the Bermudian way of life. Especially with the food.”
Jason Correia was out for the night with Elena, his wife, and their children Emmelyn and Bailey.
Mr Correia said: “I haven’t experienced anything quite like this. It’s a lot different from the religious festivals.”
He said the event was a change from the annual Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres festival, with its parade through Hamilton after the traditional church service at St Theresa’s Cathedral.
Mr Correia said: “This has a lot more intermingling of the Bermuda community as a whole. This is bringing out the wider population.”
He added: “Having grown up in Vasco, it’s great to see this for the Portuguese.”
Mr Correia’s ancestry can be traced back to the island of São Miguel, like many Azorean Bermudians.
He said: “That’s the main island. I used to go there as a kid and visit my grandparents.”
Helen and Joe Lima enjoyed the food and the spectacle.
Mrs Lima, a Bermudian whose husband also comes from São Miguel, said the night out had been “fantastic”.
Mr Lima said he had been “surprised, at first” by the announcement that the island would celebrate its Portuguese citizens this year with a series of events and a public holiday on Monday.
He said: “It’s a great thing. I came to Bermuda when I was 16 — my dad was here for ten years — he used to work at the Bermudiana Hotel. Now I’ve been here 52 years.”
Mr Lima said he had been back to the Azores “four or five times”.
But he added: “I only have one home. I got married here, my children were born here — my life is here.”
He said the festival was also a chance to see “a lot of people I didn’t see for years”.
Mr Lima added: “That’s Bermuda. Even though the island is so small, everybody’s got their own lives.”
The president of the Azores, Vasco Cordeiro, is to visit the Azorean exhibit at Commissioner’s House in Dockyard before a special Mass at St Theresa’s at 1.30pm tomorrow.
The service will be followed by a Procession of Faith through the streets of Hamilton.
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