Blessing of the Fleet at the Sydney Fish Markets – Crave Sydney

The fishing trawlers that line up the Fisherman’s Wharf at the Sydney Fish Markets transport me to Italy. Bright azure boats with Italian flag trimmings contrast with the white under a hot blue sky. In my mind, I am back in Sicily, in the coastal town of Mazara del Vallo, camera in hand, capturing the sights of the fishing harbour.

The Blessing of the Fleet is about to commence, a ritual to give the local fleet a safe and bountiful year of fishing. This tradition has not been held in ten years and forms part of For the Love of Seafood festivities of the Crave Sydney Food Festival.

The sound of live trumpets brings me back from my reverie and I follow the procession with the statue of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo led by Father Antonio. Prayers and blessings in Italian and English echo through the various fish shops in the retail arcade with onlookers following in their footsteps.

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets

The statue of the Madonna eventually makes it was onto the wharf and with much fanfare, it is loaded onto the fishing trawler, Francesca, followed by the official party and their families. Much to our delight, we are invited to board the boat for its 40 minute journey around Blackwattle Bay where the priest blesses the passing boats with prayers and holy water.

Once the blessing of the fleet is complete, the boat returns to dock and the statue of the Madonna is carried back to shore. The festivities begin with entertainment by a brass band, face painting, spaghetti eating contest and Italian folk dancing. The food event kicks off at the Foodies’ Oasis with cooking demonstrations under a marquee.

Photos of the Blessing of the Fleet

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Bondi Brass Band in the retail arcade

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Statue of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo carried in the arcade

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
The procession moves outside

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Fishermen carrying the statue

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
The procession reaches Fisherman’s Wharf

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Italian Television presenter and official party

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Loading the statue onto the ‘Francesca’

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish MarketsBlessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Madonna on board ‘Francesca’ with Father Antonio awaiting the arrival of the boat

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish MarketsBlessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Madonna and child close up

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Blessing aboard the ‘Francesca’

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Blessing of the ‘Arakiwa’ with holy water

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Blessing of the Argonaut II

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Local Fishing Fleet with the Bagnato Family

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Associazione Bagnara Calabra

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Madonna statue returns to dry land

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Prayer Cards

Blessing of the Fleet Sydney Fish Markets
Madonna and ANZAC bridge

The Blessing of the Fleet took place on Saturday October 23.

Other Crave Sydney 2010 events on Gourmantic:
Australian Cheese Showcase 2010: The Rocks Market
Cocktail of the Month at La Scala on Jersey
Night Noodle Markets
Summer Hill Grand Food Bazaar
Cocktail of the Month at Monkey Magic
Monkey Magic Sugar Hit: Black Sesame Crème Caramel
Slideshow/Photographs of the Night Noodle Markets
Sydney Food and Wine Fair
Porchetta, Birra and Tarantella: Norton Street Italian Festa

Crave Sydney Food Festival Website
http://www.cravesydneyfoodfestival.com.au/

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Blessing of the Fleet at the Sydney Fish Markets – Crave Sydney was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

11 Comments:

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  7. Wow, this is surely interesting. It’s a side of Sydney we hardly see at all. Thanks for sharing!

    • It’s quite unusual to be part of something like this in Sydney. I felt I was back in Sicily! We’re lucky to have a multicultural influence here that makes us remember our travels or inspire us to travel :)

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