Described as “the world’s largest Portuguese feast”, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament begins today (August 4) in the American town of New Bedford, Massachusetts and is expected to attract around 250,000 people.
The party was first held in 1915 to celebrate the safe passage of four Madeiran immigrant men who wanted to “recreate the religious festivals that were so common in the villages of their home island”.
Today, it is one of the biggest Portuguese parties held abroad.
Around 30 musicians and singers, some of them of Portuguese-descent, will perform. Other festivities include a huge barbecue with a “delightful menu of Portuguese cuisine”, a fair with amusements and rides and a large parade through the town’s streets.
Organisers also invite partygoers to “visit the Museum of Madeiran Heritage which will be open to the public at no charge throughout the Feast.”
“The Museum is the only one of its kind in America and houses a comprehensive collection of photographs and artifacts that tell the story of Madeiran immigration to the United States,” the feast’s website explains.
The party will come to an end on Sunday (August 7).
According to city-data.com, New Bedford is the fourth American city with the highest percentage of residents born in Portugal (around 10.9% of its population).