It is not surprising that the academic and scientific communities have given fair attention to the ethnic-religious uniqueness of the Azorean people. However, when one tries to understand the profound motivations of the Azorean islanders’ devotion to the Holy Ghost, it is not arrogant to say that neither anthropology nor ethnography would be able to explain every detail of the people’s soul.
The true believers know that the “mystery of faith” doesn’t ask for erudite explanations such as those found in the old-fashioned catechism. The publication of the “Em Louvor do Divino” has nothing to do with presumptuous academic investment; the edition was organized without commercial concern. In fact, the book doesn’t fall into the vanity of being a scientific manual designed to explain the origins of the religious behavior of he Azorean islanders. The editors of the book have a real notion about its ethnic dimension: the book is merely a kind of “photo-memory” of the Great New England Feast of the Holy Ghost.
If one decides to consult this book, it can provide a short set of narratives about a variety of rituals concerning the celebration of the Holy Ghost. Through its pages, the reader can “penetrate” a curious maze of Azorean ethnic traditions. Beyond some aspects of social-cultural debilities of the immigrants, the Luso-American Community presents a unique overall psycho-religious agenda, which has been reshaped by tradition, and refined by the historic decantation of the Azorean “Diaspora”…
The chronicles state that, during centuries, Azorean islanders were challenged by some sort of “geo-separatist” tendencies.
For instance, the inhabitants of the island of Santa Maria consider themselves to be the real heirs of the Portuguese navigators, and consequently genuine pioneers of the Holy Ghost traditions. In Terceira, people’s fidelity to their Lusitanian ancestry constitutes their collective pride. San Miguel’s islanders, on the other hand, seem being submerged in an ancestral nostalgia; therefore, their celebrations are more discrete. The inhabitants of Faial, considered the most capable of dealing with the outside world, possess a notable social versatility, which makes them almost as diligent as their neighbors, the “picarotos”, who are indeed laborious farmers and courageous whale hunters.
In summary, each island cultivates and preserves its own distinguished individuality, and each one has its own way of celebrating and honoring the Divine.
Now just a brief and final remark: the New England celebration of the Holy Ghost continues to be the great international pilgrimage of Azorean immigrants. It is truly a popular event. It can be said that each year the Great Feast transforms Kennedy Park (Fall River, Massachusetts) into an immense ethnic shrine. Since 1986, Azorean immigrants write a new page of their “ethnic-odyssey”, using the quill of the genuine devotion of a singular people. And each page is sealed with the stamp of “faith” which immigrates with them…
[João-Luis de Medeiros Honoring the Divine]