The annual Festival of the Holy Ghost took place this past Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, at the P-A Club in Oak Bluffs. Hundreds attended on Saturday evening, whether for the games, food, auction, or dancing. On Sunday morning, Taybor Estrella received the crown from Our Lady Star of the Sea church, and carried it in the parade to the P-A Club, where festivities began again.
The concept for the festival dates back to Queen Isabel of Aragon, who lived from 1271 to 1336, and was known for her generosity.
During a time of famine, the Queen offered her crown to the Holy Spirit in return for a miracle. Upon leaving the church, it is said the Queen saw ships in the harbor filled with crops.
The festival was brought to the Island by residents of Portuguese heritage in the early 1900s. In 1882, Manuel S. deBettencourt moved to the Vineyard from Graciosa, one of the nine Azores islands, part of Portugal. With him, Mr. deBettencourt brought a silver crown.
That crown is still the symbol of the queen’s charity, and a focal point of the annual festival. Every year, the club chooses a young girl from Our Lady Star of the Sea’s first communion class to carry the crown in the Sunday parade.