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Men carrying a statue of Virgin Mary
Procession members carry a statue of the Virgin Mary, honored during the second Dominga, 1999

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Portuguese Holy Ghost Festival and Traditional Practices
A Local Legacy

Portuguese immigrants first came to Hawaii in the late 1800s to work in the sugar cane fields. They brought their culture with them, and since 1901, the Feast of the Holy Ghost has been celebrated in Hawaii. This feast originated centuries ago with the sixth Queen of Portugal, Isabel. It is a Catholic celebration that proclaims the faith of the Portuguese and their devotion to the Holy Ghost, the member of the Holy Trinity now referred to as the Holy Spirit.

For each of the seven Saturdays leading up to the feast, known as Domingas, a different historical or religious figure is honored. The highlight of the entire event is a three-day festival that begins on the Friday night just before the Seventh Dominga, the "Blessing of the Meat and Bread," in which a portion of beef and bread -- the "Pensao" -- is blessed by a priest and distributed to each member present. Following the tradition of charity and feeding the poor, a bowl of soup or stew is served to everyone. On Saturday night, participants decorate religious statues in preparation for the Sunday Mass. A woman is chosen to represent Queen Isabel, and she and her court join a procession. At the end of the Mass, the priest crowns the Holy Ghost Queen.

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