LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A celebration drew tens of thousands of people to Ludlow Sunday night. The Our Lady of Fatima festa in Ludlow brought Portuguese Americans together from all over the country to celebrate culture, heritage and tradition.
Nearly 20,000 people gathered to celebrate Portuguese pride and to pay their devotions to Our Lady of Fatima, which is a Roman Catholic title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Heads bowed, prayers were spoken, and religious songs were sung, as the outdoor mass began to take place.
Amadeu Pereira of Ludlow told 22News, “It’s a very spiritual experience for everyone who comes here every year.”
This festa has taken place in Ludlow for over 60 years, and for many, it’s a yearly tradition steeped in religious significance, and Portuguese pride.
Grace Gomes-Moriarty, who was born in Portugal, told 22News, “It’s a traditional thing that we do. We all gather and we do the procession to honor the blessed mother.”
Worshipers will honor Our Lady of Fatima during a candlelit procession at dusk. The spiritual nature of the festa is one of many reasons people come back year after year.
Maria Teixeria from Connecticut told 22News, “In the first place, it’s a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, but then it’s also nice to see people we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Knights of Columbus Honor Guard Victor Sanchez noted, “It just shows unity, harmony, with everything that’s going on in the world you can see people getting along of all different denominations, colors, religions and races.”
The festa featured traditional Portuguese music, dancing, and food. It ultimately provided a way for Portuguese-Americans to honor their culture, and spend time with loved ones. Sunday’s mass and candlelit procession concluded the annual three day celebration.