In 1989 a group of volunteers from the Portuguese Community decided to bring
to Cape Town an old Portuguese tradition of blessing the fishing boats to
ask for an abundant fishing season that starts in September/October. That
was the begining of the first «Blessing of the Fishing Fleet Festival»
in Cape Town, held at the Elbow Shed at V&A Waterfront. It later became
the greatest event annually organized by the Portuguese Community. The Festival
is preceded by a dinner where the King and Queen of the Sea are selected
as well as the Fishing Boat of Honor (the Boat which carries the statue
of Our Lady of Fatima sailing around Cape Town harbor).
Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is also a fundraising event. The proceeds
raised during the event including sponsorships go to the Portuguese Cultural
and Welfare Centre of Cape Town. The Portuguese Welfare is the controlled
mode we created to help those in need in our community.
Festival has grown very popular in our community and has therefore attracted
lots of advertising opportunities at our Festival. You are most welcome
to attend the event and advertise
The Background of the «Blessing of the Fishing Fleet Festival»
is mainly religious. Once a year the Portuguese Community comes to the dockside
to thank God for his blessings, to pray for the fishermen and to bless the
season. We know the hardships endured and the dangerous conditions of working
on the sea. Jesus Christ has certainly a great familiarity with the fishermen
having called most of his apostles from this trade. He used their boats
as a platform to preach the Good News, to bring about miraculous catches
and calm stormy weather.
The Portuguese Culture is deeply built on the Catholic Faith. Saint Peter,
a fisherman, is carried on the boat together with Mary, Jesus' Mother. The
procession is preceded by the Mass. An anchor of flowers is also blessed
and thrown in the sea: it is our prayer for the men who died in the sea.
God is part of our lives and our work and his protection is most important
for everyone. Plea for blessing and Thanks to God builds the religious atmosphere
in the Festival. The happiness and serenity that follow comes often from
the sure hope of being home again after the fishing season with fish in
the boat and lots of stories to tell....