Masculinity and faith intersect at a Brooklyn parish festival

Jun 25, 2021 409

Professor of religion Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada says that growing up in New York City she was always fascinated by street fairs. “There’s just a certain sort of magic about them,” she says. “You’re walking down the street, thinking it’s just a normal day, and all of a sudden you happen upon a saint’s procession or celebration. There are tents, special foods, special smells, and people occupying the street in a way that they don’t normally do.”

Later, as a scholar of religion, Maldonado-Estrada became interested in how these festivals are a way of expressing religious and ethnic identity and how “feasts and saints’ days are a way to reclaim neighborhoods.” She started focusing her work on one festival in particular: the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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