The Festa Parade, the highlight of the event, begins at 10 a.m. May 20 and follows a route from the UPSES hall to St. Agnes. The celebration of High Mass and the coronations of the festival king and queen take place at St. Agnes at 11 a.m., with singing by the church choir.
The Portuguese people have been celebrating the feast for the last 700 years amid the lore of Queen St. Isabel, who was said to have rescued her countrymen from starvation.
The festival has been mounted in San Diego since the city's first Portuguese families settled here in 1884. It was formally organized in 1910.
“The event pays homage to and is our Portuguese dedication to the Holy Spirit, and her belief in God and serving the people,” said Diana Balelo, president of UPSES Hall. “On May 18-19, there will be booths at Portuguese Hall where people can buy ethnic foods, like authentic Portuguese bread with meat and potatoes, and be entertained.”
The 2018 festival president is Ermelinda Jorge and family.
Today, as it has been since 1922, the Chapel next door to the UPSES Hall is used to house the Crown of the Holy Spirit during the Festa. On Pentecost Sunday devotees of the Holy Spirit visit the Chapel to pray and offer a donation of monies or Portuguese sweet breads (sold to raise funds) to continue the religious celebration.