A most lovely parade queen and his attendant

The Holy Ghost Festas book cover

Sacramento's Greenhaven-Pocket Area book cover

Many years ago, when she was a fine young Catholic carnivore, my daughter was parade queen for the IDES Gloria Council No. 3. (She’s the one on the left; that’s my son on the right.)

The Irmandade do Divino Espirito Santo (IDES) and Sociedade do Espirito Santo (SES) are fraternal benefit societies that hold Holy Ghost festas every spring in Portuguese enclaves throughout the world. And in Portugal and the Azores, of course.

Each festa committee selects a big queen and a little queen to lead the parade that starts off the festa. The parade marches from the hall, loops through the neighborhood to the church, then after mass returns to the hall where everyone lines up to eat sopas, a watery beef and mint soup poured over bread. (It tastes much better than it sounds.) The sopas is served free to everyone in honor of a sainted Portuguese queen who said, “Let them eat bread.” (Sort of.)

And if you want to make your very own sopas, you can find the recipe here. (I set up the printing but don’t receive any profit from sales.)

The festas are scheduled in conjunction with Easter; a particular festa might be held every year the fifth week after Easter. Here’s the California festa schedule.

The history of the festas is pretty interesting, but I’m no expert and not even Portuguese. Better information can be found in The Holy Ghost Festas. It’s apparently out of print, but Sacramento’s Greenhaven/Pocket Area — look, parade queens on the cover! — is still available.