Thursday, 12 August 2010

Summertime and It's Time to Celebrate: Nossa Senhora do Monte in Montreal

A little local colour for another fine summer day. Last weekend was the festival of Nossa Senhora do Monte at Missão Santa Cruz, the Portuguese church in the center of Montreal.

If you were in Funchal on Madeira, where Nosssa Senhora do Monte is the patron saint, you would be getting ready to celebrate this coming weekend. On the island, August 14 and 15 are holidays where good food, dancing and fellowship are mixed with ceremonies of reverence to the saint who, it is said, has come to the aid of residents of Madeira for centuries in time of hardship. The church, shown at the left in a photo courtesy of the tourist bureau, is in the Monte district of Funchal, I discovered after Googling a bit: I had previously thought the "Monte" part was some how related to Mount Royal.

But it isn't, and other things are different here. The people who attend the local festival are not only from Madeira, but other parts of Portugal as well as their Montreal friends. In addition to religious services, there is music and dancing, as well as a barbecue that is to die for. I took the top picture in the middle of Saturday afternoon when the lunch crowd had left, and the supper rush hadn't started. But in early evening when Lee and I strolled by the parking lot in front of the church was full to overflowing with people waiting in line to eat and listening to music by local groups.

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