MA Portuguese Community Celebrates Culture And Faith For 103rd Year

Aug 6, 2017

The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, a century-old, annual celebration of Portuguese culture and faith, wrapped up Sunday night in New Bedford, Massachusetts. 

The four-day long event, accompanied by music and Portuguese food, celebrates the weekly ritual in the Catholic faith where the congregation receives a circular wafer from a priest symbolizing the Body of Christ.

Gabriel Coutinho serves as a lifetime honorary chair to the feast. His father started the tradition after coming from Madeira in 1915.

“They remembered the old days in the old country, in Madeira, and they wanted to recreate a little bit of what it felt like,” Coutinho said.

The festival draws people from all over the world, according to Coutinho.

“Boston, Providence, New York, you name it. We used to have buses coming as far as Toronto, Canada—they still do,” said Coutinho.

Festival organizers claim it is the largest Portuguese feast in the world, attracting an estimated 200,000 people over the weekend.