History of the IMDES

In 1998 and 1999 the festa was held at the Oakdale Sportsman’s Club, and from 2000-2013 it was held at the Oakdale Rodeo Grounds. Since 2014 the celebrating has begun at 5748 Albers Road, just South of Oakdale, the property having been purchased by IMDES a few year prior.

IMDES was established not only to pay tribute to the Holy Spirit but also for the purpose of uniting the Marienses of California. Although many of the participants are of Marienese origin, the Irmandade welcome everyone.

The festa is a two day event in the general format of other Azorean Holy Ghost celebrations. There is the traditional mass, parade, auction, serving of sopas, and entertainment with music, singing, and dancing. However, there are differences which make the Mariense festa unique, and perhaps more traditional than others.

The Mariense still use the old terms of imperios, impreadores, folioes, briadores, trinchante, and mestre de sala. Historically, many of these terms were also used by some of the other islands, but with the passing of time, they have been replaced by different terms and functions. Other activities such s bullfighting, bodo de leite, coronation of the queens, are common to other irmandades but are not practiced by the Marienses. Another unique aspect of the Mariense festa is ther serving of the caldo de meia note.

The Marienses are proud of their customs and traditions regarding the Holy Ghost Festival. Although one can find differences among the islands of the Azores, the love, devotion, and reverence to the Holy Spirit is expressed with equal fervor by all Azoreans.  It is both a religious and social event that permeates the conscious and soul of the Azorean people.

Although our festa is still in it’s infant stages, we are hopeful that it will continue to grow. We want to thank you for your participation and support of our festa. This year of our twentieth anniversary, IMDES and its members, would like to welcome each and every one to the festa. May the Holy Spirit bring you peace, joy, and many blessings. Viva O Esperito

The vast majority of the Marienses who immigrated to America settled in the East Coast States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. However, many people may not be aware that there are numerous scattered throughout California. Original settlements can be traced to the areas of Lompoc, Riverside, Sunnyvale, Fort Bragg, San Leonardo, and Redlands among others. These early immigrants conducted their own Imperios in their back yards or farms, often driving sizeable crowds. These scattered and informal events started in the early 1900’s and exist even today in some communities. 

Mariense imperios were not held in the Central Valley of California until the mid-1990’s when a group of local Marienses got together and decided to start an imperio in the tradition of their forefathers. Manual Chaves (Ventura) of San Leandro, Daniel Fernandes of Atwater, and Joe Soussa of Oakdale gathered and organized the first imperio in 1955 in Casa Dos Acores in Hilmar, CA. The following year, they moved it to the Community Hall in Hilmar, CA.

IMDES Becomes A 501(c)(3)

Done in traditional format and is not organized with state statutes as is common with non-profit organizsations/irmandades. Some of the people involved with this festa thought that the imperio should organized and sanctioned under the guidelines for non-profit organiztions. Others decided to continue the iumperio in an informal manner. These differences of opinion resulted in the creation of the Irmandade Mariense Do Divino Espirito Santo – IMDES. The statutes were approved by the state on May 26, 1997 under the provisions for non-profit organizations. The IMDES held it’s first festa at the Oakdale IDES Hall on June 21-22 of that ame year!

IMDES is a 501(c)(3) EIN: 77-0464654