|The Kerman S.B.F. Portuguese Hall is located at 14910 "C" Street, which
is near the Veteran's Plaza Park and City
Hall. The main building was established in 1922. Map
To learn more about the Portuguese immigrants from the Azore Islands go to the home page of Bob Santos, Reference Librarian and University Archivist at California State University, Stanislaus. http://www.library.csustan.edu/bsantos/bsantos.html
|The Portuguese Celebration|
Each Spring young women and representatives from all over the valley march in a parade through Kerman on their way to Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church. Winding its way through Kerman, the parade will have representatives from several other communities, the Kerman Community Band, and the symbolic protection of the Queen by the Kerman Knights of Columbus. Once at the church, there will be a religious celebration during the mass that for generations has bound the Portuguese people in California. The Festival, called a Festa in Portuguese, is both cultural and religious. It historically refers to Queen Isabella of Portugal who sold the royal jewels and her crown to feed the poor. She was eventually moved to sainthood for her selfless acts of compassion which are reflected by the Queens in the parade, one from each city or town that hosts a Festa. In the Portuguese tradition, the capes of the queens can be handmade and take hundreds of hours at the hands of the most skilled artisans to create.
After the services at Saint Patrick’s, the assembled will march back to the SBF hall. Already in process will be the serving of the free meal, called sopas, that symbolizes the historical feeding of the poor by the Queen of Portugal and the dedication of the Portuguese associations like the SBF to help those in need. Everyone is invited to attend free of any charge whatsoever. The SBF makes particularly sure that food is taken to the elderly, the ill and those in need. The SBF, the Sociadad de Boa Fe, is one of over 500 such organizations in California. Festa celebrations are also held in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Toronto, Canada. Every organization has a special committee that puts together everything from collecting the money and cows needed to make the sopas to the actual cooking and serving and anything else that might be needed.
During the early to mid 20th century main Portuguese families migrated from the Azore Islands to the Kerman area and became farmers. Many of these families and their descendants can still be found in Kerman.
-adapted from Kerman News article