The Blessing of the Fleet: Brunswick, Georgia

The blessing of fleets began as a European tradition.  Coastal villages and towns held celebrations to encourage a healthy and abundant season of fishing.  These festivals began in Southern European countries where Catholicism was the major religion.  A priest was always present to perform the blessing after which food and merriment became the order of the day!

This past weekend we celebrated the blessing of the fleet in Brunswick.  A colorful procession of boats festooned with banners, flags and other decoration presented themselves.  My friend and local photographer, Nancy Kirkpatrick took some amazing pictures that I’m sharing with you today.

Traditionally held over Mother’s Day weekend, the blessing honors “Our Lady Of Fatima” as well as mother’s all over the area.  Portuguese immigrants began the event locally about sixty years ago.  “Our Lady” is the patron saint of the St. Francis Xavier church in Brunswick and the annual event is closely tied to the parish and its members.  A statue in Hanover Square is decorated as the procession of participants makes its way to the waterfront and the festival itself.  Music, food, fun…you name it!  We do it all so well in Coastal Georgia!

The weather could not have been more beautiful for this wonderful event!