Places of Worship & Festivities
Orthodox Church: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
In Portland, one Orthodox Church that is definitely worth checking out is Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. It includes both Children’s and Seniors Ministries as well as weekly services in its beautiful and historic church which features gorgeous mosaic tiles often seen in Orthodox houses of worship.
Within the general community, this church is known for its amazing Greek Festival which it puts on every fall. Generally held at the very end of September or very beginning of October, the festival is an amazing display of Greek culture and cuisine. A children’s tent hosts games, face painting, and other activities. Nearby, Greek children in a variety of colorful costumes take to the stage to perform traditional dances.
Plus, this is a festival with a sense of humor. The fall after the huge hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” popularized the idea that “so many Greeks are named Nikki”, dozens and dozens of the volunteers at Holy Trinity’s Festival (indeed, it appeared that perhaps ALL the volunteers) at Holy Trinity’s Greek Festival were sporting big, welcoming smiles to go with their names tags that said HELLO, MY NAME IS NIKKI!
This year you will love being in Portland for the festival. Souvlaki, gyros, cheese and spinach pie, Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves, authentic Ouzo, and a special tent housing acres of desserts including Portland’s best bakalava…it will be another amazing chance to eat! Here is the information for this year:
54th Annual Greek Festival
September 30, October 1, October 2
10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday
Noon to 9pm on Sunday
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church is located at 3136 NE Glisan St., Portland, OR, 97232. For more information about the church or its annual Greek Festival, please call (503)234-0468.
Judaism: Congregation Neveh Shalom
For newcomers to Portland who are Jewish, there are a variety of synagogues to choose from. Congregation Neveh Shalom is a great starting point if you are looking for something family oriented; this multi-generational congregation has almost 1,000 families in it and really goes out of its way to cater to all the generations. It is the bi-weekly Tot Shabbat services – they are a really unique way to get the little ones excited about being involved at synagogue.
Neveh Shalom is located at 2900 SW Peaceful Lane, Portland, OR 97239. For more information about the synagogue please call (503) 246-8831 ext. 14.
Buddhism: Oregon Buddhist Temple
Buddhists coming to Portland are spoiled for choice, with all kinds of traditions and ethnic backgrounds to choose from. Chinese, Japanese, Thai…there is even Zen chanting – in English! What more could a Buddhist, where long-time or or just budding and curious, ask for?
For the initiated, a temple with a multi-ethnic Sangha but a Japanese heritage is the top pick: the Oregon Buddhist Temple. Dharma time is followed by a coffee hour – often with lots of Krispy Kreme donuts!
The Japanese heritage of this temple need not deter anyone from attending. Services are conducted in English, except for 2 or 3 times a year when a special Japanese service is added before regular service.
The community is always invited for the annual Buddhist summer festival called Obon. This is a fun way to get a glimpse of Japanese and other culture – crafts, music, flower arranging, martial arts, and of course, FOOD! Children in the temple and the community look forward to dressing up in colorful cotton summer kimonos called yukata, wearing wooden sandals called geta, and coming to the festival to sample the delicious treats like yakisoba (fried noodles), yaki tori (chicken shish kebabs), and kakigori (Hawai’ian or Japanese “shave ice”) topped off with homemade baked goods and lots of mochi (sticky rice cakes).
This Buddhist summer festival is generally held in early August each year. An excellent Taiko (drum) group from Seattle makes the trek down to Portland each year to thrill the crowds with their precision drumming. One feature of Obon is that people can join in a special dance which begins in late afternoon or early evening.
The Oregon Buddhist Temple is located at 3720 SE 34th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202. For more information about the temple or ObonFest 2005, please call (503)234-9456.
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