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, friends, neighbors, and the community to come together and appreciate the traditions of Italy, and most importantly, a time to pay homage to the miraculous Saints Cosmas and Damian, "The Healing Saints".
Warren and Porter Streets (Gaeta Square) of East Cambridge are closed and decorated with illuminations and flags. The bandstand and the ornate (the temporary chapel which 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.
This year, we are excited to announce that Feast celebrations will begin on Friday, September 8 and continue through Sunday, September 10.
The celebration begins when the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian are taken out of their chapel. The statues are carried to the doorsteps as the American and the Italian National Anthems are played. Next, the band plays the "Lind" or "Hymn" (the traditional song of Saints Cosmas and Damian). The traditional "Marcia Reale" is played 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 and Damian. Music, food, carnival rides, and games continue throughout the evening. At 11:00 PM, the statues are taken back to their chapel on Porter Street. The members of the society remain through the early hours of the morning, preparing for "the big day".
On Sunday morning, the chapel is opened at 7:00 AM. 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 a traditional fashion as the bands play. The church will fill to capacity for the morning Mass as parishioners, local guests, and visitors from all parts of the country come to see the beloved Healing Saints.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the procession returns to the chapel, Porter Street is closed, and the Society hosts a free traditional Italian dinner for all to enjoy.
At 1:00 PM, the "Grand Procession" begins. Society members, several bands, floats, and devotees march as the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian are carried through the streets of East Cambridge and Somerville. The procession will continue for many hours, as the route is filled with families hosting open houses for friends and family. The statues are stopped and set down at each home as crowds gather to gaze, and individuals approach the 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, and balloons. Ribbons, blankets, capes, and sashes filled with monetary donations are placed on the statues. 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 three 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 years ago. The procession winds its way back to the festival area around 7:30 PM, and entertainment for all ages continues until 10:00 PM, when the statues are carried back to their permanent chapel.
Over the years, the festival has grown significantly in size. World known entertainers have performed at the Feast, including Al Martino, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Tavares, The Village People, and The Duprees.
The families involved in the Feast work on preparations for weeks. For them, this event is of utmost importance. Nothing will interfere with one's presence at the Feast, as everyone must be at the family gathering to pay homage to the Saints.
The Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
"It was my distinct honor to perform at such an outstanding celebration!"
"Keep up the wonderful work!"
Al Martino - international singer/actor
"Thank You for having us be a part of your Diamond Jubilee Celebration!"
"We had a wonderful time with all our Paesani!"
"The Capris" - 1960's Doo Wop Group
"A magnificent event that adds significantly to the vitality of out region,
and we are proud to be their host city!"
Honorable Mayor Reeves - Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts
"A proud tradition of excellence!"
Honorable Mayor Joseph Curtatone - Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts
"Thousands of people everywhere I look!"
"You make us proud!"
Honorable Silvio D'Amante - Former Mayor of Gaeta, Italy
"A wonderful piece of neighborhood history!"
"Families from around the country return to East Cambridge
each year to celebrate their heritage!"
Honorable Timothy Toomey, Jr - State Representative 29th Middlesex District
"This celebration is one I always enjoy attending!"
"I look forward to sampling the Italian cuisine and celebrating this wonderful tradition!"
Honorable Michael Capuano - United States Congressman
"You bring a beautiful piece of Italy to Cambridge!"
Honorable Liborio Stellino - Consul General of Italy in Boston
"A pleasure to be with such a wonderful group of people!"
Anna Maria Alberghetti - International recording star
"A living museum!"
"It's great to see such an amazing display of culture and pride!"
Maryann Esposito - Host of "Ciao Italia", PBS Television
"The best of the best!"
"The City is brimming with people!"
The Cambridge Chronicle
"An event not to be missed, one of the best around!"