GRAND PARADE AND MASS
As you would expect, the grand parade through the old town of Ponta Delgada was an obligatory part of Christmas in Europe, as it is each year. The 19th Christmas in Europe was no exception to this, and you would have thought that the heavens were on the side of the organisers because on Sunday December 5th the clouds and the rain had made way for much more clement weather, without a drop of rain!
Before the parade an Advent mass had been arranged – although of course it was optional – in São Pedro church, celebrated by Father João Maria in the presence of almost all of the Christmas in Europe participants as well as the school students. Prayer intentions were read out by students from the different delegations. Father João Maria welcomed the delegations and wished them an excellent stay, adding how pleased he was that this event had been organised in Ponta Delgada in the spirit of Christmas.
With police at their head, with a local jazz band for ambiance and with their flags flapping in the wind, the delegations joyfully set off for a parade through the cobbled streets of the old town of Ponta Delgada, to the great surprise of the few onlookers who, as the parade advanced, became more numerous.
After a halt on the steps of the Pavilhao do Mar for the family photograph, everyone met up inside to spend two hours at the exhibition before it was due to close at 18.00. It was then that, as if by magic, there was a sudden rush of visitors who had come in family groups to discover this 2010 Christmas in Europe. The following morning the exhibition was dismantled and the hall was handed over for other activities.