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Santo Cristo: a festival of festivals

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The Santo Cristo Festival (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

In the Devonshire and Smith’s parish areas, there has always been a mixture of demographics working, residing and socialising together. Schools such as Elliot Primary, Harrington Sound Primary and Whitney Institute high school were great melting pots of children of all hues. More often than not, those friendships became lifelong relationships. Very often there would be “unofficial” lessons in Azorean/Portuguese language and culture, inclusive of food, dress and “colourful metaphors”.

On Sunday, the annual Santo Cristo festival was held in BAA parking lot. Approximately 1,000 people were in attendance throughout the day. Entire families, ranging from infants to seniors, could be seen spread around the venue. As this was the first such gathering since the pandemic, there was an atmosphere of one big family reunion.

Drooling tongues

From the entertainment side, there were some very generous raffle prizes, Azorean/Portuguese folk music by DJ Scoobay and an overseas artist from Canada.

There were various stalls providing baked goods, flowers, liquid refreshments and various Azorean/Portuguese dishes. The cooked food included stewed octopus, which is called polvo guisado. Quite conveniently, there was a stall where people could use their credit or debit cards to purchase tickets for the goods on sale. As per usual, the longest line was for the Portuguese doughnuts, aka “magic malasadas”. For clarity, a long line would mean 50 persons deep patiently waiting with tongues drooling.

Friends and family

The Santo Cristo Festival (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Walking around the venue, it was pleasant to constantly bump in persons from Elliot School and/or neighbours. Conversations included reflections on our carefree primary school days, exaggerated “fast/slow bike” stories, extremely “colourful” English, Portuguese football league banter and just catching up on family developments.

Imagine, if you will, a group of Elliot School boys standing around talking/bragging about who went to principal Rosalie Harvey’s office the most. Getting caned or writing lines together surely has a way of bonding people for decades.

Amo vocês minha família açoriana

• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published May 19, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated May 19, 2023 at 7:23 am)

Santo Cristo: a festival of festivals

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