The Italian Festival of The Healing Saints Cosmas and Damian

 

Our Tradition for the Feast Day of 
Saints Cosmas & Damian

 

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The Feast Planning Committee
*
This committee is responsible for the organizing of our annual festival*

Sal and Marie DiDomenico
(Chairman and Chairwoman of the committee)

Sal Jr. and Tricia DiDomenico
(Vice Chairman & Vice Chairwoman of the committee)

Antonietta Boriello

Anthony Leccese

Richard and Maddalena Leccese

Maria Valente

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(Click on image to enlarge)

Privitera Family Float, with Enzo Amara, 2000 Marie and Sal DiDomenico Procession, Feast Day
Sal's crowd, Feast Day Maddy and Richard Leccese, Feast Day Alex, Gabby, and Domenic, Feast Day, 2000

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The Feast

Thousands from near and far join us for the feast each year. The weekend of the festival is filled with excitement for all who attend the celebration. It is a time for family, a time for neighbors and old friends to gather, a time for the entire community to come together and appreciate the traditions of Italy, and above all, a time to pay homage to the miraculous Saints Cosmas & Damian, "The Healing Saints".

Warren and Porter Streets, at Gaeta Square, in East Cambridge,  are closed and decorated with illuminations, and flags. The bandstand and the ornate, temporary chapel which will house the Saints for the weekend are erected at one end of the festival.  A carnival is erected at the other end of the festival.  The street is filled with vendors of all sorts, and the aroma of sizzling Italian sausage fills the air. The Society women will also run a, "Homemade Italian Cookie" stand, and the annual raffle.

The celebration begins on Saturday evening when the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian are taken out of their chapel.  The statues are brought to the doorsteps as the American and the Italian National Anthems are played.  Next, the band will play the, "Lind" or "Hymn", (the traditional song of Saints Cosmas & Damian), and the traditional, "Marcia Reale", as the saints are taken out of the building. Barrages of fireworks, and confetti greet the statues as they are presented to the crowd of devotees. A candlelight procession then follows and the festival opens as the statues are swayed down the main street of the feast.  The statues are then placed in a temporary outdoor chapel as a, "Healing Service", is conducted with the Relic of Saints Cosmas & Damian for all in attendance. Music, food, carnival and games continue throughout the evening.  At 11pm, the statues are taken back to their permanent chapel. The members of the society remain through the early hours of the morning, preparing for, "The big day".

Sunday morning, the chapel is opened at 8am.  Coffee and Italian pastries are served for all who will march in the morning procession to church.  The society women wear purple satin capes for this special procession.  Many children will also walk to church.  The statues are again taken out of the chapel in traditional fashion as the bands play. The church will fill to capacity for 9:30am Mass as parishioners, local guests, and visitors from all parts of the country come to see these beloved, "Healing Saints".

At the conclusion of the Mass, the procession returns to the chapel, Porter Street is closed, and the society hosts traditional, Italian, Sunday dinner for all.

At 1pm, the, "Grand Procession", begins.  The society members, several bands, floats, and devotees, march as the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian are carried through the streets of the surrounding neighborhoods of East Cambridge and Somerville. The procession will continue for many hours, as the route is filled with families hosting, "Open House", for friends and family.  

The statues are stopped and set down as crowds gather to gaze, and individuals approach these miraculous icons. Devotees will touch the Saints, and offer donations of money or golden mementos for favors received and continued good health and tranquility.  As the statues are set in front of the homes of these devoted families, they are greeted with fireworks, confetti, balloons,  and ribbons, blankets, capes, or sashes filled with monetary donations. Whenever the statues are stopped, the band plays the traditional hymn, followed by any requested favorites. As the statues are moved away, they are lifted in the air 3 times to signify blessing to the home and family.  This ritual continues throughout the afternoon and into the evening as so many return to stop the Saints in front of the homes they once lived in as well.  The procession winds its way back to the festival area by 8pm, and entertainment for all ages continues until 10pm, when the statues are carried back to their permanent chapel.

The families involved in the festival work on preparations for weeks. For them, this event is of utmost importance.  Nothing will interfere with one's presence.  Everyone must be at the family gathering to pay homage to the Saints.

 

American flag Italian flag

(music on this page: "Vitti Na Crozza")

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