Posted by Susana Segat on Sep 10, 2011.

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THE place to be this weekend

This weekend, September 10th and 11th, Cambridge will be celebrating the 85th Annual Italian Festival of the Healing Saints Cosmas & Damian.

This feast, which is like a giant two day block party, is located on Warren Street (off Cambridge Street), in East Cambridge. All of the events are free.

Sal DiDomenico, Chairman of this year's Feast Planning Committee, tells us about the event :

SOME HISTORY
(adapted from the cosmas-and-damian.com page)

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, who were twin brothers who practiced medicine and refused payment, are the patron saints of the city of Gaeta, in Italy. It is believed that through their itercession, the city's population was spared during an 18th century plague.

In the 1920's, during a strong immigration wave, a large group of immigrants from coastal Gaeta settled in Cambridge and Somerville and worked in the local meat packing industry, a far reach from their native fishing or farming professions.

Even though they worked hard to fit into their new surroundings, they longed for some of their previous traditions, the religious festivals in particular.

As they organized and their group grew, they sent to their homeland for life-sized images of their patron saints. When the statues arrived in 1926, the organization officially became the Society of Saints Cosmas and Damian and they began a yearly festival in honor of these saints.

In 1988, the Smithsonian Institute asked the Society to recreate the festival on "The Mall" between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. The festival lasted two days over the July 4th holiday. Over three million people celebrated with our Cambridge neighbors!

After 85 years, this yearly reunion lives on in its original form. The present members of the organization, representing the 5th generation in the society, organize the feast to carry on the tradition.

SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, September 10th, 2011

2:00pm - 11:00pm
DJ music, children's activities, games, carnival, food, vendors

6:30pm
The festival officially begins with a short candlelight procession, including the Saints, Society members, "The North End Band" and devoted.

6:45pm
Special Healing service for all, in honor of "I Santi Medici," the "Healing Saints."

7:00pm - 11:00pm
Warren Street Stage: Music by "The Reminisants"

8:00pm
Cambridge Street Stage: Performance by "Ayla Brown"

9:00pm
Cambridge Street Stage: Performance by "Bobby Rydell"

SUNDAY, September 11, 2011

11:30am
Open House at the Society's Chapel on Porter Street

Noon - 11:00pm
DJ music, children's activities, games, carnival, food

1:00pm
Grand Procession begins

6:00pm - 10:00pm
Warren Street Stage: Performance by "Stephen Savio" and "Sea Breeze"

10:00pm
Annual Raffle and final procession

For more information, check out www.cosmas-and-damian.com.

(Photo by S Segat)