A Celebration of the Holy Ghost: The Portuguese Spirit of Humboldt County

W1g1VBKCHDOQbOMdThe smell of sweet bread and linguica sausage will soon fill the air at the various Portuguese Holy Ghost Celebrations being held throughout the state of California during the upcoming summer months. Seeing as California has the largest Portuguese Azorean population in the entire U.S. it is no wonder why the Holy Ghost is so widely celebrated in the Golden State. From May into June in Northern California in particular, it is easy to find several Holy Ghost celebrations taking place. All over the San Francisco Bay Area and as far north as the small village of Ferndale, CA. Portuguese festivities will be in full effect this time of year.

CameraZOOM-20120527120656083Traditionally a religious gathering of which all are welcome to attend, the Holy Ghost Celebration is seen as somewhat of a gift to the community in which it takes place. In the spirit of the revered 14th century Queen Isabel of Portugal who was an advocate for the poor and always sought ways to help to feed citizens in need, any Holy Ghost festivities that you attend will feature an elaborate feast, as well as parades, dancing, and of course, Sunday mass. Over the 100+ years that this celebration has been taking place in California it has really morphed into a celebration that honors the Portuguese Azorean culture, food, music, dance and tradition that was brought here when the Portuguese began to immigrate to California in the late 1800s’. These festivals provide a great way to get out to meet your local Portuguese community members and truly get a taste of their unique traditions.

images2015 will mark the 91st annual Holy Ghost Celebration for the Victorian Village of Ferndale located to the far north of the state in Humboldt County. This small rural farming community became a huge agricultural center during the 1800’s and many hard-working Portuguese immigrants migrated to the region to work on dairy ranches and later in the areas prominent timber industry. The festival will take place May 23rd & 24th at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds & the Portuguese Hall in the town of Ferndale. If you live in the area or happen to be visiting during this time make sure to come out to experience the festival and learn more about this important group of people who make up the rich history of the Redwood Coast. Rosary, bean & linguica dinner will be held Saturday at 6:30 pm. Parade, mass, and noon dinner are being held on Sunday.

 view-from-the-cemeteryFor those who have never been, Ferndale is a quaint town in which you literally feel as though you have stepped back in time. The Victorian architecture of the town is well-preserved and definitely a feature that this village is known for. There are several nice vacation rentals in Ferndale to check out if you are looking to explore the area including Cream City Cottage in Victorian Village of Ferndale, 2 Bdrm & Studio as well as the Fernbridge House, a super cute bungalow just outside Victorian Village of Ferndale. Other things to do while in Ferndale could include catching a live show downtown at the Ferndale Repertory Theater, checking out the many interesting shops that line main street, or explore the various national and state parks of the Humboldt County region. As the Portuguese proverb says, “for each mouth, a different soup”… Humboldt County offers exactly that, something for everyone.

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Bom Apetite!   

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