Let them eat soupa
At 17 years old, Brittany Farrar enjoys playing tennis, dancing and now, being royalty. The Pleasant Valley High School junior was crowned queen of Chico’s Portuguese Holy Ghost Fatima Club’s annual festa. A cultural as well as religious holiday, the festa, held May 27, celebrates the reign of Isabella, the queen of Portugal in the 1300s. The legend tells that during Isabella’s reign, a terrible famine left the people of Portugal starving. Wanting to aid her people, Isabella left her castle one evening with bread hidden in her robes to disperse to the peasants. She was stopped by her husband and, when questioned as to what she was hiding, Isabella replied, “Roses.” She fearfully revealed what was in her apron at the king’s request, only the bread instantly turned to roses and fell to the ground. A reminder of this miracle, the annual festa in Chico crowns its own royal family, with Brittany this year serving as their queen and Serena Schott as their “little queen.”
What are your duties as queen?
I go to mass in the morning at the church (St. John’s Catholic Church) and walk down the aisle. The priest crowns me as queen with a huge crown. After mass we all head over to the Portuguese Hall for a traditional festa. We leave after lunch and then come back later for dinner and dancing. I also read the story of Queen Isabella to remind everyone why we are celebrating.
What is the process like to become queen?
To participate you have to belong to the club and have had your first holy communion. I was the little queen when I was 9 years old, and before that I was the side maid to the little queen. When I was a freshman in high school, I was a side maid to the queen and then the next year a second side maid. You basically just work up the ladder.
Why did you want to participate in the festa as queen?
My mom is 100 percent Portuguese, so going to the festa is something that I always did when I was younger.
Is there any other royalty in your blood?
My aunt and cousins are former queens, and my younger sister was a little queen.
What do you think you have gained through this experience?
It has been a fun experience. I really liked learning more about Queen Isabella.
What was most fun about being queen?
The dressing up and the dresses. Oh, and the crown!