The narrow streets of Boston’s North End filled with revelers on Sunday, as locals and visitors gathered to celebrate the annual Fisherman’s Feast of the Madonna Del Soccorso di Sciacca.
Marching bands played and crowds mobbed the ceremonial float, as members of the Madonna Del Soccorso Society carried a statue of the Blessed Mother through the streets, collecting donations.
Sunday’s festivities capped the four-day celebration, one of the largest of the North End’s traditional Catholic feast observances.
The festival dates to the 16th century, where it originated in the Sicilian fishing village of Sciacca, where local fishermen swore their devotion to the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca (the Lady of Help of Sciacca), the village’s patroness.
Immigrants from Sciacca brought the festival to the North End in 1910, and today their descendents and others carry on the tradition.
North End resident Sal “Bosco” Diecidue was among the members of the society guiding the statue on Sunday.
Diecidue said he is a “consigliere,” or elder statesman, and a former president of the Madonna Del Soccorso Society. His grandfather immigrated from Sicily at the turn of the last century and was a founding member of the society.
“We are so proud of the fact that we can continue this tradition,” Diecidue said. “There’s not many things that last 106 years. We still have the community spirit.”Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Dina Rudick can be reached email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @dinarudick.