St. Anthony’s Feast – a beloved North End tradition dating back to 1919 that traditionally takes place the last weekend of August and has grown to become the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England – will take a reprieve this summer due to the pandemic.
“For over 100 years, Saint Anthony’s Feast has celebrated faith, family, community and tradition in the North End of Boston,” read a statement from the St. Anthony’s Society, the event organizer, announcing its cancellation. “We come to this decision after much consideration and in consultation with the City of Boston.”
Called the “Feast of all feasts” by National Geographic Magazine, the tradition was initiated more than a century ago by immigrants from Montefalcione, a small town in the province of Avellino in the Campania region of southern Italy, It honors St. Anthony of Padua, a PortugueseCatholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who was born in 1195 and remembered for his undying devotion to the sick and poor; St. Anthony is also known as the “patron saint of lost things.” During the event, around 100 vendors peddle traditional Italian street foods including arancini; sausage, peppers and onion; quahog; calamari; pizza; pasta; zeppole; cannoli; and gelato from pushcarts situated along the neighborhood’s streets, and the Feast culminates in a the 10-hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony through the streets of the neighborhood alongside marching bands and floats before it returns to the chapel.
While the 101st Feast scheduled for Aug. 27 to 30 of this year has been cancelled, the event is set to return to the neighborhood from Aug. 26 to 29, 2021.