Several hundred participants, most of whom trace their ancestry to the Azores islands, will be in Tracy on Saturday, June 9, and most of the day Sunday, June 10.
The festa — festival, in Portuguese — will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday with a rosary service at the Portuguese Hall on West Ninth Street, followed by the presentation of the queens at 8 and dancing to the music of Chico Avila at 8:30.
Sunday, marchers, bands and floats that will make up the annual festa parade will form at 9 a.m. at the IPFES grounds.
The parade will take participants east on Ninth Street, north on Central Avenue and Holly Drive and west on Eaton Avenue to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.
At 10:30 a.m., a Mass will be celebrated in Portuguese by Monsignor Ivo Rocha, pastor of St. Bernard’s and a native of the Azores.
Following the Mass, parade units will return to the IPFES grounds by way of Parker Avenue.
Sopas e carne — the traditional festa meal of boiled beef, broth, cabbage and bread — will be served at noon. An auction at 2:30 p.m. and an evening sopas dinner at 7 will preceded the closing dance, which begins at 8.
Queen of this year’s festa is Alex Leonardo, the daughter of Joe and Rana Leonardo. Her maids are Katie Early, the daughter of Jason and Jacquie Early, and Lauren Shankel, the daughter of Chuck and Sherene Shankel.
Little Queen Madison Rocha, the daughter of Robert and Nicole Rocha, will be flanked by maids Ava Corallo and Morgan Paulson, the daughter of Pete and Debbie Corallo and the daughter of Tim and Ami Paulson.
Robert and Nicole Rocha are IPFES presidents in charge of this year’s festa arrangements.
The annual celebration’s bloodless bullfights will be staged Friday, June 15, in the bullring behind the Portuguese Hall.
Tracing tradition's roots to Portugal
This weekend’s festa of Tracy’s IPFES society traces its roots back seven centuries in Portugal.
It was in the 14th century that Queen Isabel of Portugal interceded with her husband, King Denis, asking him to present the poorest man in the kingdom with the king’s crown and allow him to sit at a banquet in the royal palace.
The king went a step further, proclaiming that every year on Pentecost Sunday, this same act of humility would be performed. The Holy Ghost “festa” tradition was started.
Earlier, Queen Isabel had defied her husband’s ban on providing food to the poor. According to the story, when the king pulled open the apron where the queen was hiding bread, the bread had been miraculously replaced by roses.
The queen died in 1336 the town of Estremoz on the Alentejo Plain of central Portugal, where a chapel and statue are dedicated in her honor. She was later sainted by the Catholic Church.
The Estremoz castle where the queen died has been restored in recent years into a pousada, a small, upscale hotel.
Variations of the original theme have developed over the years in Portugal, the Azores and former Portuguese colonies and have taken root where Portuguese immigrants have settled.