Today is the Portuguese Festa in Princeton. As a child I attended the Festa every June without fail, until I moved away from home to a distant land. Since, then I have attended a hand full of times. Once being when Chelsea was "little queen". Sadly I have missed more than I care to think about, but at least when I do attend the Festa tradition fills in the void and takes me back to that which I hold dear. Community.
I love the memories that the "Festa" brings to me, ones that I hold dear, memories that make the Festa more than the common eye can see, and the first time visitor hard to appreciate:
The long tables covered in white, with wooden benches to match, under the eucalyptus trees,
The calls given during the Chamarrita.
The wood burning ovens linger aroma, mixed with hints of spice and onions.
The auctioneer's rattling off the bid for the ever mounting price of the sweet bread my Aunts baked.
The small parade with silk flags, pageantry, doves, traditional costumes representing saints, and the marching band playing the same song that has been played before I was born.
The crowns and capes, of the chosen girls who were the Queen and side maids of the day.
The closed door to the kitchen.
The cooler room.
Yellow beans that pop at the beer stand.
Lining up for lunch, at the gate, with your ribbon. Since I didn't care for the traditional food, and later became a vegetarian, I would bring a cheese sandwich.
and when I was teenager it was a place to meet other young people, and the thrill was intensified as the day wore on and the dance began.