The Blessing of the Fishing Fleet

6 and 7 October 2012

Photogallery 2008

The Event

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).

The 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.

The 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 with us.

The Religious background

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....



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