Original post made
on May 29, 2009
In response to Jennifer Heffley's letter on the lack of Memorial Day parade crowds:
What you saw last weekend was not a "Memorial Day Parade" it was a Portuguese Holy Ghost parade. In late spring/early summer Portuguese societies up and down the state of California have cultural and religious celebrations called Holy Ghost Festas that often include processions to the local Catholic church for mass.
Mountain View has two Portuguese socities; There's the "Irmandade da Festa do Divino Espirito Santo" (IFES) on Stierlin Road and the "Sociedade da Festa Velha do Divino Espirito Santo" (SFV) on Villa Street. They both trace their origins to 1926 and have roots stretching back to the days when the north side of town was home to many Portuguese-owned dairies.
This past Sunday was the IFES parade and featured representatives of Portuguese societies throughout the region. The IFES parade usually falls on the sixth Sunday after Easter and it was purely coincidental that it fell on Memorial Day weekend this year. The annually changing date, combined with a lack of publicity outside of the membership of the Portuguese societies, is the reason few people outside of the halls know about the parades and few come to watch them. It's too bad though, because these parades are uniquely Californian event and a part of Mountain View's history.
So, rather than a lack of patriotism what you saw on Castro Street was just one example of the wealth of cultural diversity which defines Mountain View. Welcome to town!
Thank you for the clarification (and welcome)and the history of this event Nick- I appreciate it! I was curious about the people who were actually in the parade. You're right, this is a culturally diverse community and everyone should embrace all aspects of it....and learn something new.
As an addendum to the above comments, I also saw the parade and there were banners of Portuguese socities from Watsonville, Los Banos, South San Francisco, San Jose, and many other communities from the Bay Area and central valley.
The SFV lodge will be conducting their parade on Sunday June 14th, using Villa and Castro Streets, so watch for that one too!
Thanks for the info, will be on the lookout.
And I do have to say that someone evidently looked in the phonebook to find me, I'm not in the phonebook, and left a message with the gentleman who did answer the phone... It's not his responsibility to track me down and pass on the messages... I guess this particular person didn't think to access this online forum. Just throwing that out there... Thank you.