May 7, 2008

FIESTA SAN PEDRO

From 23 to 29 June, holidaying tourists flock to Portuguese Settlement in Malacca to commemorate the annual feast of the fishermen; Fiesta San Pedro.

The Portuguese Settlement lies along the coastline of Malacca overlooking the Straits of Malacca. The village is situated approximately 2 kilometers south of Malacca town and is home to over 1,000 residents who are the descendants of the former Portuguese rulers in Malacca.

The Fiesta San Pedro commemorates the Feast Day of St Peter, the patron saint of the fishermen; the trade the Portuguese were traditionally steeped in. The official day for the Fiesta San Pedro is June 29, however the festivities run for a week before-hand, which has been running for the last 67 years, highlighting the traditional significance of the fishing trade to this seaside community.

The celebrations will culminate on June 29, the actual feast day of Saint Peter. Evening falls, and High Mass is celebrated in the Settlement church in honour of the saint. Following the Mass, the statue of the saint is carried in a procession around the Settlement, when the priest blesses the fishing boats.

A diversity of colours, sounds and activities mark the week-long fiesta. Bazaars, blaring music, flashing lights, amusements rides are among part of the festivities. When the night falls, live bands perform on the main stage. Cultural performances showcase the community’s blended European and Asian heritage, with dances that are a fusion of European costumes, instruments and Asian costumes and instruments, such as the branyo dance.

The boats which are especially decorated for the occasion, are adorned with sketches and paintings of the New Testament scenes, Biblical figurines, nets full of catch from the sea and even little girls dressed in white depicting angels. The blessing of the boats indicate the fisherman’s hope for a bountiful catch for the year ahead.

For more information, contact JKKK Portuguese Settlement at +606 281 2924.

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