|WHO WE ARE
We are a group of people dedicated to the advancement of social and civic interests
on Martha’s Vineyard.
|WHAT WE DO
Since 1930, the Holy Ghost Association has been known to all as a place of endless
goodwill to the Island community. Whether it be by inviting island children to our annual
Easter egg hunt, visits with Santa Claus, playing games a the Feast, feeding needy souls at
Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping kids stricken by Aids, the countless funeral
receptions hosted at no cost to the bereaved, the hundreds of thousands in scholarship
money, the fundraisers for families in need, all of which amount to over a quarter of a
million dollars in the last five years alone. Our members and our famous Benevolent
Committee play a vital role in weaving the Vineyard fabric.
|HISTORY OF THE FEAST
A procession of adults and children dressed as saints, and others in traditional Azorean garb, marched
to band tunes. The beloved Holy Ghost crown held high above all heads, and the red Holy Ghost flag flies
The celebration is "one of the major feasts of the Azorean people," "It goes back centuries. It’s a real
marker of identification for Azoreans everywhere."
Feasts are held throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Brazil, Cape Verde and, of course, in
"It’s completely due to Azorean immigration,"
The crown carried so proudly at a Holy Ghost procession, and displayed at the feast, is a symbol of
kindness to the poor and a miracle that took place in the 13th century.
The story goes that St. Isabel, the daughter of a Spanish king and wife of King Diniz of Portugal, defied his
orders not to associate with or feed the poor.
With gifts of bread stashed in the folds of her dress, she was nearly discovered by the king when he
followed her to town. "What do you have there?" the king asked. "Roses," she replied, afraid to be found
When he made her show him what she had, a miracle occured. She opened the first fold of her dress and
revealed beautiful roses.
Besides feeding the poor, Isabel also allowed peasants and children to wear her crown, making it an
important symbol in today’s Holy Ghost feasts.
"It’s the one day of the year when the whole world is upside down ... when the king does not wear the
Holy Ghost feasts are traditionally held on Pentecost Sunday, but are now typically held throughout the
spring and summer at various churches and clubs.
The Holy Ghost Club of Martha's Vineyard holds its annual feast in mid July and has been doing so since
In the United States, the culture of the Holy Ghost feast connected new Azorean immigrants to their
homeland. It was, and still is, a way to unite, pray, celebrate and remember their roots.
To the elderly, the Holy Spirit is "almost a family friend. There’s a very strong emotional bond. It’s a very
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