A tradition that stretches back to the 16th century, village parish festas are a time for both spiritual contemplation and for the whole parish to come together. The festa is the main social event in the village year and the week is the outcome of months of hard work by willing volunteers and villagers to feel a strong, close-knit camaraderie after so many months of preparation.
The church bells that ring all week are more than just a call to mass. They mark five days of spiritual preparation during which whole families flock to church. Celebrations begin with three days of prayer leading up to the feast day. Churches hold vespers and mass with special hymns dedicated to the patron saint.
On the eve of the feast, vespers and mass are at around 6pm. The village band clubs hold their concerts and later on, at around 10pm, the grand fireworks display takes place.
On the feast day itself, Solemn High Mass is early in the morning at 9am. The priest gives a eulogy on the patron saint and calls on his parishioners to lead more exemplary lives. Evening time is when the vespers are held again. The statue of the patron saint is carried shoulder high to the accompaniment of brass bands and showered with confetti as it wends its way through the streets.