Provincetown 2016 Blessing of the Fleet
For over sixty years, Provincetown has honored its Portuguese ancestry with an annual Blessing of the Fleet and weekend-long Portuguese Festival. Centuries ago, before a fleet departed on a long and possibly dangerous journey, the Bishop blessed the vessels and crew. This year, our fleet of Moment, Momento, along with their tenders, Tary and Un had the privilege of participating in the procession.
The tradition that continues into today, begins with a mass at St. Peter’s Church, followed by a festive procession to MacMillan Wharf and the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony, where all of the boats pass by the Wharf and have holy water sprinkled onto them. This year, the Bishop perched in an open doorway of the Provincetown II to bless each passing vessel.
The Blessing of the Fleet is one of the highlights of the annual Provincetown Portuguese Festival. The Festival is a celebration of all things Portuguese–culture, dancing, music and of course, cuisine. During the festival, Commercial Street and Macmillian Wharf fly festive red and green Portuguese flags. All of the boats of the fleet are dressed with these flags and any other visuals that make them grab attention and honor their vessel. To follow tradition, each of our vessels flew the Portuguese flag and then we added a twist of towing large inflatable white swans in order to stand out in the crowd.
After the procession, a large majority of the fleet went out to raft up just inside Long Point and celebrate into the afternoon and evening. Moment hoisted sails and circled around the commotion, while Momento anchored right near the main raft-up and carried on with a party of her own.
Overall, the blessing shined with beautiful weather and was one of the largest in recent years.