The festival of Maria Del Monte is in its 29th year. This year’s festival is being celebrated the weekend of June 23, 24, and 25. The central location is Our Lady of All Souls and St. Mary’s School parking lots. This is located on the corner of MacNab and Colbourne Street. This festival has significant history in Hamilton and the first celebration occurred in Hamilton circa 1930’s. The festival objective is to bring together all people from our community, Hamilton and surrounding areas. The Maria SS. Del Monte is a figure of devotion of the twinning the cities and uniting the 2 communities.
It begins Friday evening at the Fratellanza Racalmutese Italian Club on 72 Murray (Corso Racalmuto) St. W where a band serenades the spectators with original Folklore music. At dusk a candlelight procession begins with band and spectators, carrying banners, & candles. The procession marches through the streets arriving at All Souls Church where there is a service, followed with refreshments in the church parish hall. On Saturday we will be hosting the 1st annual Bocce Tournament at the Fratellanza Racalmutese Italian Club celebrating Canada 150th Birthday starting at 11:00 am. The celebration involves Italian food, music, stories of historical significance of the festival, the Club, and the area. On Saturday and Sunday from 3:00 pm until dusk at St. Mary’s School Parking Lot there will be a Kid’s Zone with a bouncy castle and games. Saturday evening there will be entertainment with singers and local bands.
Sunday begins at 9:00 a.m. with procession of promises where a group of people accompanied by marching band march from the Fratellanza Racalmutese Club to the church to deliver their requests or promises in keeping with the tradition. A mass service follows and at the end the Madonna is crowned. The Madonna is then carried out and placed on a decorated float in the shape of a boat (Barca). 2 other floats in the shape of candles (ciliu) decorated with banners are also part of the tradition.
Immediately after the mass, a larger procession starts with various participants and young people dressed in traditional costumes, the band and various groups from the community singing and marching through the streets to arrive at the church parking lot. At 6:00 p.m. entertainment begins with singers and dancers and ends at 10:30 p.m. with a spectacular pyrotechnic and laser display.
Our goal is that this Italian festival will add to the unique identity of Hamilton and it will benefit our community by bringing people to this area to learn the historical significance of the “Festa”. It will educate the community and community abroad. We would like to make this an authentic Italian Festival in the northwest end of city of Hamilton by preserving the traditions culture, history and heritage; while strengthening the community in this area. The contribution to the community is bringing people to the area to explore the Northwest end of the city.