Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston
Saturday, August 1, 2015
It's that time of year again!
That means my immediate neighborhood in the North End will be filled with hundreds of people celebrating Saint Agrippina di Mineo this weekend, and next weekend it'll be the feast of the Madonna della Cava.
During the month of August more festivals and feasts will be held in other parts of the North End. Two of the biggest: The Fishermen's Feast and St. Anthony's Feast, at the end of August.
These commemorations of saints come from southern Italy, mostly Sicily, and have been celebrated here in Boston's "Little Italy" since the early 1900s.
"Summer festivals and feasts abound in the North End. Saint Anthony’s Feast is the most popular, which has filled the streets of the North End with colorful food, costumes, and song every last Sunday of August since 1919. It is the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England and was named the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic Magazine. The cobblestone streets come alive with parades, strolling singers, pushcarts full of authentic Italian foods, live entertainment, and more. The highlight of the feast is the 10-hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony through the streets, complete with marching bands and floats."
The celebrations are loud, raucous, and a combination of the sacred and profane: Colorful statues of saints are festooned with hundreds of dollars pinned to ribbons and are paraded through the streets followed by bands playing "Ave Maria" mixed in with the singing of "Viva Saint Agrippina," sung to the tune of "Deep in the Heart of Texas!" Later in the evening live bands fill the streets with hellishly loud heavy metal music. It's all a jumble of noise, aromas of grilled sausages and peppers, and people yelling for you to feast on their raw oysters and clams, arancini, pasta dishes, and freshly made cannoli!