A patronal feast or patronal festival[a] (Spanish: fiesta patronal; Portuguese: festa patronal; Catalan: festa patronal; Italian: festa patronale; French: fête patronale) is a yearly celebration dedicated, in countries influenced by Christianity, to the "heavenly advocate" or "patron" of the location holding the festival, who is a saint or virgin. The day of this celebration is called patronal feast day, patronal day or patron day of said location.
Patronal festivals may reflect national holidays (e.g. the feast of Saint George, patron saint of England, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, and various regions of Spain), but they usually reflect the celebration of a single city or town. In larger cities, there may even be several festivals, usually about the patron saint of the local parish.
Depending to the budget, patronal festivals may run from one day to five days. The festivities usually include religious processions honoring its Catholic heritage. However, elements of local culture have been incorporated as well.
Usually, town members adorn the town streets with colorful decorations and other things.
Most patronal festivals feature traditional fairs known as verbenas (Italian: sagra, plural: sagre), possibly including elements typical of the travelling carnivals. They feature parades, artisans, street vendors, regional food stands, amusement rides, games, and live entertainment, among other things. There are usually alcoholic beverages—wine and beer—and music and dancing, either organized or spontaneously; in Southern Italy and Argentina, for example, folk dances known as tarantellas are very common.
Austria and Germany
- Feast of Our Lady of the Hens on the Second Sunday of Easter in Pagani, Campania
- Feast of Saints Francis and Catherine
- Feast of San Gennaro
- Fiestas del Pilar around 31 October in Zaragoza
- La Mercè around 24 September in Barcelona
- Fallas around 19 March in Valencia
- Bonfires of Saint John around 24 June in Alicante
- Festival of San Fermín around 7 July in Pamplona
- San Isidro Labrador around 16 May in rural areas mostly in Extremadura and Andalusia
In Latin America
Most Latin American countries dedicate the first day to the saint or virgin being celebrated, the others to entertainment, but in Puerto Rico the musical and entertainment festivities begin right away.
- Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on 4 October, in Yucuaquín (El Salvador), in Somerville, Massachusetts (US) and in Italy
- Festa de São João do Porto around 23 June in Porto (Portugal)
- Kermesse (festival)
- Calendar of saints
- Christian culture
- Civil religion
- Patron saints of places
- Patronages of the Immaculate Conception
Notes and references
- By definition, a feast is a "day of commemoration set aside for an important personage, such as a saint" while a festival is a "period of celebration often centered around a religious feast day or a holiday." A feast, then, is a one-day celebration focused on its one special personage; the focus of a festival is much wider.
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- "Feasts, Festivals, And Fasts". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
- "patronal". lexico.com. Dictionary.com & Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on March 19, 2022. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
- "patron day". lexico.com. Dictionary.com & Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2021-02-26.[dead link]
- Rivera, Magaly. "Patron Saint Festivals". Welcome to Puerto Rico!. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
- Inserra, Incoronata (2017). Global tarantella : reinventing southern Italian folk music and dances. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-08283-2.
- "El baile de los negritos - Fiesta Patronal de San Francisco" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-02-25.
- "Patron saint day". Serbia.com. Retrieved 2021-02-25.