Over 80 years of Memories of the Imperio Mariense of Saugus by, Angelina (Andrade Chaves) Batista
I was 3 years old in 1927. Back then life was much different. There were no cars, in our family, most people traveled by bus or trains. Our family and friends use to get together on weekends. Whenever it was hot in the city, we would make our lunches and take a bus or train to the beaches or out to the country. On July 4, 1927 we went out to the country, to Saugus Mass, to a farm that belonged to the Moura family. The Camaras, who were friends of ours, lived on the Moura Farm too. After we had lunch, everyone started to sing songs of the Espírito Santo, that remind them of there little island of Santa Maria. It was one of the religious feasts that brought happy memories and free food to everyone. There was singing and dancing. The Espirito Santo was a very religious and wonderful time in their country. It meant FAITH, LOVE & HAPPINESS. At that time there was no television and no cars. People worked and spent time with family. They laughed and talked. I remember how happy we were when we would get together. The idea of starting the Imperio came from my uncle Antonio. He suggested that we do this every year around the 4th of July because that was the time they all had vacations. The people I remember being at that first gathering are: My Tio Antonio Andrade Chaves (the founder of Imperio Mariense de Saugus) his wifeTia Maria and their sons Joe and Manny. Tia Maria’s sisters (Herminia and Virginia) and brother Jose Coelho were there with their spouses and children. Including Tio Pimenta (Antonio Figueiredo) Mamie, Rose and Virginia, Antonio Sousa and Mamie and Alice Coelho Tia Antonia Tio Jose Andrade Chaves, Tia Filomena and their daughters Mamie and Rose Tio Manuel Andrade Chaves, Tia Eliza and their children Charlie and Dorothy Tia Maria Chaves Rose, Tio Antonio and their children Joe, Laura and Tony Tia Maria Sousa, Tio Antonio and their sons Amos, Arthur and John Joao Chaves, Tia Silvana and Mamie Mr. Chaves (from Saugus) with his children Joe, Mable and Henry Adeline Xavier and her mother The Mouras The Camaras and of course My own parents Joao and Ana Chaves and my sister Mamie. The next year each one made something - the sweet bread, Pao Leve and the Sopas do Espirito Santo. Maria, Herminia and Virginia were the first Cosinheiras (cooks). They worked at the Imperio all their lives. My uncle Antonio more than anybody else put his heart and soul into that feast. From 1927 to 1933 they continued to meet at the Moura’s farm. For the first 3 years, my Tio Antonio was the Imperador. The first folioes were Jose Aurelia, Antonio Chaves from Hudson and Jose de Chaves. They were the first, but there have been many including Antonio Ponte, Evaristo Chaves and Antonio F. Chaves just to name a few. In 1934, there was a piece of land for sale close to the Moura’s farm. My uncle had some money of his own and tried to get contributions from the members, but nobody had money at that time. This was during the Great Depression. However, Tia Antonia, his mother-in-law, offered to give him what she had and the land was purchased. It was agreed that if some day the Imperio had money to repay him it would- and if not it was paid. He set up by-laws that said as long someone wanted to have the crown the Imperio would never end. If some day nobody was interested any more, the land should be sold and the monies would go to the Island of Santa Maria to be distributed to the churches of all five freguesias - Santo Espirito, Santa Barbara, Almagreira, Sao Pedro and Vila do Porto. The by-laws also said that to be a member you had to be born in Santa Maria, married to a Mariense or be a descendent of a Mariense. We went through very difficult times for a few years. They could not do a public Imperio during World War II because of food rationing. The Crown was in Peter Braga’s house for five years. During that time, my parents went back to Santa Maria but my Tio Antonio kept us informed with letters. I missed the Imperio from the age of 9 to 29, but from 29 to 84 I have never missed one. The feast of Espirito Santo of Saugus is in my blood and in my heart. It is my heritage. This dedication and tradition continues in many of the original families. The Chaves, the Bragas, the Sousa, the Andrades and others have fourth and fifth generation members. They are born into the feast, participate year after year and carry the tradition in their hearts. This shows how the faith continues from generation to generation. I hope it will continue for generations to come.
Imperio Mariense is for all Portuguese people or anyone who appreciates this organization and enjoys keeping the traditions of our rich heritage.In the archipelago of Azores, the famous Holidays of the Holy Spirit are celebrated every Sunday between April and June, and marked differences between the islands and the villages. The feasts of the Holy Spirit came from peninsular Portugal with the first colonists and they preserve the medieval origin in its popular slope and in the color of the ceremonies. What contribute to the worship stayed and remained here was that they Invoke the Holy Spirit every time that happened natural catastrophes that were punishing the archipelago, the reputation of its miracles, the difficult life and the isolation of the islands, while it was getting over in peninsular Portugal. The rituals are kept almost untouched. An emperor is crowned in the parochial church. With a sceptre and a plate of silver, as symbol of the Holy Spirit, presides the holidays every Sunday, for seven weeks after Easter. On Sunday of Pentecost, a great holiday is celebrated in the city. The fulcrum of the ceremonies is a small chapel, or imperio, used for the distribution of the soup of the Holy Spirit, with meat and vegetables. In the altar, there are exposed the crown, the plate and the sceptre. The time contributed to the feasts of the Holy Spirit own characteristics in every island, though some elements are kept jointly as the coronation of the emperor, the exhibition of his emblems - wreath and sceptre - the parade of the emperor and the empress with there retinue and the day of the holiday in which the offerings breads, meat and wine are distributed.
President: Walter Sousa Vice-President: Jose Magalhaes
Treasurer: Eric Sousa Secretary: Filly Fitch
Trustees; Jacinto Figueiredo Manuel Costa Joseph Sousa
For over 700 years Portuguese people have celebrated the Império (Festa) do Espirito Santo or Feast of the Holy Spirit and have asked the Espirito Santo to intercede in times of danger or calamities.
The people of the island of Santa Maria (Mariense) embraced this tradition of celebrating the feast of Holy Ghost annually. While keeping the basic ritual of the Portuguese feast, they also added local customs that make Império Mariense unique. The Império Mariense de Saugus was formed in 1927 to promote the Mariense and Portuguese tradition of Holy Spirit and Santa Marian cultural heritage.
The Império Mariense de Saugus take place annually on the weekend of the first Sunday in July.
The Império is held at the Imperio Mariense de Saugus campgrounds located at 262 Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus MA. (about 13 miles north of the city of Boston).
By; Charles Bairos