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Portuguese community celebrates Santo Cristo

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All smiles: from left, cousins Madison Fox, 3, Tatiana Santos, 5, and Makayla Fox, 3 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Portuguese community of Bermuda celebrated the annual Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres yesterday.

Organised by St Theresa’s Church and Vasco Da Gama Club, the event surrounding the centuries-old tradition also raised funds for the Portuguese School.

“It’s celebrating Holy Christ,” Joe Benevides, the secretary of the church’s Committee of Santo Cristo, said. “It’s a tradition from back in the Azores.

“In Ponta Delgada it attracts hundreds of people from all over the world and it goes on for about four days all together.”

Mr Benevides said Portuguese communities around the world observe the tradition.

“We celebrate by the procession and we give gifts to the church and we help each other. We put this event on so people can have a good time, have good food and good music,” he added.

Celebrations began with a church service and a parade through Hamilton. Revellers later moved to the Bermuda Athletics Association car park, where traditional Portuguese fare was on offer.

Dancers entertained the large crowd and for the first time, a 40-strong band was flown in from Fall River in Massachusetts to perform at the event.

Miguel Pereira, the president of Vasco de Gama, said: “This year, it’s simultaneous with the Azores, so what is happening in Bermuda at this moment is happening in the Azores, which is a good thing.

“The main objective of this, even though it’s a religious festival, is to raise funds to keep the Portuguese School of Bermuda operating.”

He added: “This year, we have RTP [Radio and Television of Portugal] international here from New York and it’s going to be aired worldwide through channel 32 in the next four to five weeks.”

Mr Pereira also extended a big thank you to all the sponsors for their help and donations that made holding the event every year possible.

For more photographs, view the full gallery here.

Coming together: the Portuguese community of Bermuda celebrating the annual Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Joyous occasion: Rogerio Medeiros with granddaughter Liliana Medeiros, 2 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)