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Malaysia Festivals ~ Fiesta San Pedro


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~ Fiesta San Pedro ~
Festival Date - 23 to 29 JUN 2012

Fiesta San Pedro is a week long celebration filled with colour, pomp, gaiety and fun for the Portuguese Eurasian community of Malacca to commemorate the feast of St. Peter which is observed on June 29.

Portuguese-Eurasian carnival

Visitors and foreign tourists come to Melaka to join-in the 3,000-odd residents in songs, dances, fun fairs, game stalls, the decorated boat festival and the solemn procession of the statue of St. Peter. The annual fiesta, from June 24 to 29, held since the settlement’s founding in the l930s, is the only carnival celebrated by the local Portuguese-Eurasian community.

The fiesta observes the feast of St. Peter the patron saint of fishermen. Its special position in the community dates back to the days when fishing was the main livelihood of the settlement’s residents and those living at Praya Lane and Kampong Bandar Hilir.

Back in the l930s and l940s, practically three-quarter of the settlement’s adult population were involved in the fishing industry either directly or indirectly. With the catch becoming less plentiful, there are now only about
l5 - 20 diehards who continue to fish.

The highlight of the fiesta is the religious facets. Following the Eucharistic celebration on the actual feast day, the blessing of the decorated boats, where candles were lighted, is the main focus. For the fishermen, the lit candles signify the Light of Christ who guides them through the storms of life whether at sea or land in their journey home.

The blessing of the boats and procession where the statue of St. Peter is carried around the settlement demonstrates the request for God’s grace for a bigger and better catch for fishermen who depend on the sea for their livelihood.

The Settlement itself is tightly knit and holding out against outside influences but retaining age-old traditions, rituals, customs, practices and lifestyle dating back some 500 years ago.

Besides the fiesta, other celebrations kept alive include Intrudo (water festival), Holy Week traditions and Bong Natal (Christmas).


 


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