One of New Jersey’s larger Italian festivals, the Feast of the Madonna Dei Martiri, is back this weekend in Hoboken.

According to Hoboken Girl, the four day festival (9th-12th) features music, food, rides, and games plus a fireworks show.

Saturday the 11th is the feast day when the 800 pound statue of the Madonna Del Martiri (Madonna of the Martyrs) is led in a procession through Hoboken.

According to the festival’s website: The Hoboken Italian Festival, the premier Italian-American festival in the New Jersey tri-state area, is nearly 85 years old, and is derived from a festival in Italy that is over 600 years old. The festival occurs yearly, the weekend after Labor Day, for 4 days at beautiful Sinatra Park, on the historic waterfront of Hoboken, NJ. The highlight of the feast, beyond the fabulous variety of foods and entertainment, is the day long procession through the streets of Hoboken, including a pain staking reenactment of the “Blessing of the Fleet” in the Hudson River, all culminating with a huge fireworks extravaganza over the park. Sinatra Park, named after Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra, is where On The Waterfront was filmed in 1954.

The tradition of the Madonna Dei Martiri goes back to the year 1399. It was on the orders of the King of Napoli, Ladislao di Durazzo that the Street Festival and Religious celebration were first combined to celebrate the “Miracle” and blessings of the Madonna. This celebration is traditionally held on Sept. 8, which is the Universal Feast of the Nativity of Mary. The actual “Miracle” of the Madonna occurred many years before this date.

For a complete rundown of the event, including the musical lineup, go here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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