The Blessing of the Fleet

.....the Blessing of the Fleet Festival is essentially an ancient religious ceremony. The fishing boats often go 200 kilometres or more out to sea and in all kinds of weather. The fishermen simply ask for our Good Lord's blessing that they may have a good catch of fish and be able to return safely to port to the arms of their families.

The order of the Festival, depending on the weather of course, will go something like this, I stress that this is not an official order of ceremony, but only a summary.

At 9 a.m. all the fishermen and their families will gather in the Civic Centre together with all others who care to attend for the special fishermen's mass.

A beautiful display of banners will also be seen at this time. These banners are a real credit to the people who make them.

About 11 a.m. a great procession of floats and local organisations will take place, organised by all the organisations and business houses of the district, most of the fishermen will have to go to the harbour to prepare their boats, but some may walk in the procession.

About mid-day, or a little later, the procession will reach the wharf and the actual blessing of the gaily decorated boats will take place..........

James McClelland, OAM

Book 34. History of the Mid South Coast, NSW - 109 pages.
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