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May 12, 2005 01:04 AM

This weekend - Holy Spirit Festas and sopas

  • k

THe link to last year's SF Gate article describes Portuguese Festas much better than I could (since I haven't attended one).

A Portuguese specialty, sopas is served at these festas (and other food). The SF Gate article says. I think, of the Mountain View festa

"teams of helpers cook up as many as 18 donated cows in 37-odd steel pots.

The orderly and convivial crowds file into the hall, where they are served unlimited helpings of the beef, stewed in wine and the association's patented blend of spices, with sops of bread softened and pleasantly soggy in the gravy. Then there are concerts and staid couples step out to do the Portuguese quickstep on the dance floor."

Many of the Holy Spirit Festas take place this weekend. This link which is a bit confusing lists them. Find your area and then scroll down to 6/15/05.

Be sure to check if sopas are served. The HMB festa is not serving sopas (bummer, that's were I was planning to go).

Some festars are later. I was interested in the San Jose festa, but it seems to be on 5/30 with little info.

Besides Mountain View other festas this weekend with sopas (and I didn't look everywhere since I'm thinking Mountain View for me) are Santa Clara and Hollister.

Don't know if food is involved in Sausalito, Hayward, Livermore and Vallejo. You could always call the Churches to verify.

I'm interested in the Montery Festa which is supposed to be one of the larger ones (and not related to the Holy Ghost). However, the site is confusing.

Also Portuguese Day is coming up in June in San Jose with lots of food.

Also, click on the pictures in the article for a feel of a Portuguese festa. I want to see if people really do wear bread hats.


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  1. Being Portuguese, I've been to many festas. Some festas begin on Sat. night with a bbq of meat marinated in wine, garlic, peppers and various spices. BBQ'ed on large steel skewers or spits, it's absolutely delicious and is served with slices of french bread. There's also a dance that evening which includes folk dancing and the traditional chumarita. I'm sure I didn't spell that correctly but phonetically thats how it sounds. The food is not free at this event.

    I've been to the Sausalito Festa which is this weekend. I think they have a dance on Sat. night. Sunday the event begins @ 9:45 with a parade from the hall to the church. While Mass is being said, I believe they have the first serving and when the parade returns they have the second serving and so on. Normally, everyone sits at long tables covered with white butcher paper on benches. Big metal pans are brought out with the sopas and metal serving platters with the meat. It's all very communal and free. You can make a small donation in the chapel. Later, there's usually dancing and an auction. In Sausalito, they also sell linguicia sandwiches and I believe malasadas. At the auction you can bid on various handmade crafts and Portuguese sweet bread which is so much better than that which is sold in the grocery store as Hawaiian Sweet Bread.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jim

      Thanks so much for the info. Sounds great, especially the auciton of home baked goods. Hmmm .. Sausalito is closer to me.

      In the Half Moom Bay Festa from the festa link below it says

      "Lunch of Tradiditional Carne do Espirto Santo (not soupas), Auction, Bazaar, and rides outside"

      Would the Carne de Espirito Santo be the BBQ you are talking about?


      1. re: Krys

        I called my mother who is more knowledgeble about this than I am and she said that a few festas don't serve sopas only the bbq that I previously mentioned. Sausalito is your best bet. Enjoy!

        1. re: Jim


          How very nice of you to call your mother to get an answer.

          I was trying to decide between Sausalito and Mountain View. The list was updated and it turned out that there was a festa in San Jose today. More farther in post.

          HOWEVER, I found out that the big blowout Portugues Celebration happens on the last Sunday in June every year.

          There is a parade where people come in from all over the state. Santa Clara street is shut down. There is free food. All you have to do is pay for wine if you would like some. Of course, they will always accept donations.

          The Santa Cruz festa is the first week of July.

          The Montery festa is the second week of July and a poster said this was one of the bigger ones with lots of Porthugese food you don't get elsewhere.

          The one thing I did learn is not to trust that festa link. CALL the church or organization to check facts.

          I dragged myself to SJ for the 9 am mass which included a parade. Uh, no, it started at 10.

          Absolutely no info about the festa except a piece of paper on the front wall of the church ... in Portuguese. Don't know why, but I can read Portuguese pretty well. The dinner after mass was for members of the Portuguese society only, sort of.

          While waiting also chatted with a woman who helps organize these things. A fount of info, she gave me her number if I had more questions. She clued me in about the above festas.

          She also said for todays event, the general public could eat (free) after the society members.

          It was VERY Portugues today. Mass was in Portuguese, and I just felt like I'd be intruding on a more private event. Went to eat lunch at Sousa's instead. When I circled back, yes indeed the general public was lining up for the free sopas and other food.

          I chose San Jose today, because the little Portugal section there makes me feel like I am in Europe. When I visit the Portuguese coffee shop, when I step outside I'm almost surprised to find myself in San JOse.

          The same today at mass. The June celebration will start at this same Portuguese church. It is the most European church in the Bay Area. Every nook is filled with statues and there is a plaza in front with lots of roses and two fountains at the steps of the church. Some of those statues are pretty European too, making Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" look like a light comedy.

          A Portugese band played as a procession entered the church. It was a very colorful ceremony. At the end, the congreation followed the band and a truck covered in flowers and bright flags, back to the hall for the lunch of sopas and more.

          Once again it left me feeling I was more in Europe than San Jose.

          Mary, my festa informant, said there was a good article recently in the San Jose Mercury news about the Portuguese Festa. However, the Merc archives and charges you to read their stuff.

          Anyway, will post when the June event is about to happen with more details. As mentioned there will be free Porguese food and a lot of Portuguese culture.

          Thanks so much again for the information. I probably would have been better off at the Sausalito event, however, I was happy to get that info about the upcoming festivals

          1. re: Krys

            Uh, that's Jose, not Joes. Typo. Not trying to anglisize the name.