|Ready for a makeover: Fishing boats are placed on the roadside at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir. They will be decorated for the San Pedro Festival.|
MELAKA: Despite going through lean times, the Portuguese community is determined to make the annual Feast of St Peter, or Fiesta San Pedro, a memorable one this year.
The two-day celebration to honour the patron saint of fishermen starts today and the organisers anticipate that the Hari Raya break will help them draw a larger crowd.
“Normally, we get 2,000 to 3,000 people but as this year’s celebration coincides with the Raya holidays, we expect more than 5,000 visitors,” Portuguese Settlement Village Development and Security Committee chairman Richard Hendricks told The Star.
Fiesta San Pedro is a major event for the community, with traditional games, a stage show, band and cultural performances, and the lighting of candles to symbolise guidance for fishermen.
St Peter is the patron saint of fishermen, and fishing was once the main livelihood in the settlement.
Hendricks said about RM50,000 was needed to organise the event.
“We have a sponsor for the grand prize for our Best Fisherman competition and an annual allocation from Tourism Malaysia which is enough to organise the event,” he said.
Hendricks added that the committee members also raised funds by selling lucky draw tickets and advertisements in the souvenir book, as well as personal contributions.
He said the committee’s intention was to make sure the celebration adheres to the traditions of the Portuguese community and strengthens camaraderie among residents of the settlement.
The celebration is part of Tourism Malaysia’s calendar of events and a tourism product for the state.