Celebrating Saint Anthony's Feast in Boston's North End

Every year on the last weekend in August, Boston’s North End celebrates the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua.

The traditional event dates back to the early 20th century, when large numbers of southern Italians immigrated to the United States, settling in the urban centers of the North-East. In Boston, they gathered in the North End neighborhood.

The immigrants brought with them the customs and traditions they celebrated in their homeland for centuries. In 1919, a group of immigrants from the small mountain town of Montefalcione (Avellino), just east of Naples in the Campania region, established what is known today as the “San Antonio Di Padova Da Montefalcione, Inc.”, a non-profit religious and cultural organization dedicated to continuing the tradition of honoring St. Anthony of Padua.

Throughout the years, the Saint Anthony’s Feast has become the largest Italian religious festival in New England, named the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic Magazine.

The event features a ten-hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony carried through the streets of the North End, accompanied by devotees, marching bands and floats. The Statue of the Saint is returned to his chapel as confetti and streamers cascade from the rooftops.

Strolling the decorated streets, visitors enjoy live entertainment, cooking demonstrations and lots of Italian food.

Watch these images from past years’ editions (courtesy of Saint Anthony's Feast).