North’s End iconic feast is back in person for 2021.
This weekend, Boston’s North End will be celebrating the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, a tradition that’s continued for over a century. While last year’s celebration was virtual due to COVID-19, Saint Anthony’s Feast will be back in person this year for its 102nd edition.
This tradition began in the early twentieth century, when large numbers of southern Italian immigrants made Boston their home— specifically, in the North End—and brought their traditions and celebrations with them. A particular group of men from Montefalcione, Avellino (just east of Naples in Italy) founded what is known as today as the San Antonio Di Padova Da Montefalcione, Inc. Ever since 1919, on the weekend of the last Sunday of August, the Saint Anthony Society along with the people of the North End celebrate the Feast of Saint Anthony.
It’s been named the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic Magazine. With parades, strolling singers, live entertainment, contests, and religious services every day, this authentic Italian street festival has definitely earned the title!
What to expect
The Feast celebrations are held over a period of four days. This year, it will be from Thursday, August 26, to Sunday, August 29. Every day, you can expect to hear live music, see a wide selection of souvenir vendors, and sample the best Italian street foods from around a hundred different pushcarts and a tasting tent. Food selections include arancini, sausage peppers & onion, quahogs, calamari, pizza, pasta, and of course, zeppole, cannoli, and gelato!
The opening ceremonies will be help on Friday evening. On Sunday, you can experience the highlight of the Feast: the ten hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony through the streets of the North End accompanied by devotees, Italian street bands, numerous marching bands, and floats. In the evening, the Statue of the Saint returns to his chapel as confetti and streamers cascade from the rooftops.
[featured image: http://stanthonysfeast.com/]