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
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.
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.