I thought it was called the Chamarita Festival, but after doing some research I have it right now. It is actually called the Holy Ghost Festival that happened this weekend in Half Moon Bay, Ca. “Charmarita” is the name of a Portuguese folk dance that people do during the festivities that go on for four days in HMB.
The Holy Ghost Festival traces its origins to the 13th and 14th centuries. At that time a violent earthquake and volcanic eruption shook the Azore Islands, located 1000 miles away from the Lisbon home of Portugal’s Queen Isabel. Following the natural disasters there was drought, crop failure and finally a cruel famine that shook the faith of many. They gathered together to pray to the Holy Ghost for help.
Their prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred. A ship arrived at Port of Fayal on Pentecost Sunday, laden with food that fed the famished and restored the people’s faith.
When the good news reached Queen Isabel, she organized a solemn procession in honor of the Holy Ghost. Accompanied by her maids, the Queen carried her Crown through the streets of Lisbon to the Cathedral, placing it on the altar as an offering of thanksgiving for the favors the Holy Ghost had bestowed upon her people.
I’ve only attended the parade, usually hanging out at the front window of M Coffee on Main St. The parade is a re-enactment of the crown being brought to the church in honor of the Holy Ghost. Included in the procession are the HMB high school marching band, a bagpipe band, representation of Portuguese groups from different communities like Mt View, Santa Cruz, and more. There are young junior queens that come through first and finally the big queens follow. Gorgeous capes and crowns glitter through the streets of HMB.
I haven’t attended all the festivities during the four days, but I’ve heard that in addition to auctions and dancing that there are free barbecue beef sandwiches. This year they made 7,000 pounds of meat.
This was the 135 year Holy Ghost Celebration in HMB. Next year I’ll make it to more of the festivities and dance the Chamarita!