Tradition - As Tradições dos Portugueses na California

Produced by Luís Proença,SJ, with Chris Wilson as director of photography and Eduardo Dias as a narrator, Tradition - As Tradições dos Portugueses na California constitutes a masterful portrait of the surprising success of a group of immigrants arriving  in California with minimal expectations of achievable economic and cultural survival.

It is this engaging tale that Tradition depicts. In it one may observe most colorful  scenes of festas with typical dancing and singing (emphasis is placed on Azorean dances and in fado by Zélia Freitas). Shots from Portuguese bullfights reveal superb horsemanship and lively bull-grabbings by the forcados.


The Holy Ghost celebrations taking place all over California deserve special attention, stressing the magnificent mantles of the festa queens, the multicolored banners and the local marching bands, as well as the preparation and serving of the sopas, the meat, cabbage and bread dish, which all visitors are welcome to enjoy courtesy of the Portuguese hall. Two touching notes are the participation of elderly performers as instrument players, singers and dancers, and that of young Portuguese-Americans in the marching bands.

Several immigrants tell of their experiences in the new country, among them one, Euclides Alvares notable for his clear perception of the immigrants' concerns and hopes. Also a remarkable interview was given by the late Abel Alves, a third generation Portuguese who was able to wonderfully maintain language and lifestyle in his household. Enlighten photographs, some datind back to 1910, help to give a picture of days long gone by.

A somewhat distressing remark was made by one of those interviewed, who made a passing comment to the efefct that tradition would soon vanish among the community.  So far that does not seem probable, as this documentary and many other sources   point to a group still energetically clinging to memories and habits brought from overseas.



Review by
Prof. Eduardo Mayone Dias
Emeritus Professor
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Click on Bio to see a full Biography of Fr. Luis Proenca
Click on Music to hear some samples of some of the music he's produced

Click on Photography to view some of his photographs


All material previous is © 2006 by Fr. Luis Proença, S.J.
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