Giglio Feast

Giglio Feast

About two weeks ending July 16
The feast days of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) and St. Paulinus (June 22) are celebrated together by Italian Americans at the parish of Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Brooklyn, New York. St. Paulinus (d. 431) was an architect in Nola, Italy, near Naples, who gave himself up to marauders so that a widow's son could be free. In the end, St. Paulinus secured the freedom of all the citizens who had been captured and placed into servitude.
For about two weeks leading up to July 16, there are daily masses and other religious devotions, parties, games, and stands offering Italian sausage, pizza, seafood, and other foods.
The highlights of the festival are the two processions of the giglio (Italian for "lilies"), a huge tower about six stories high and decorated with lilies. On Giglio Sunday, usually the Sunday after July 4, the statue of St. Paulinus is placed atop the giglio and paraded through the parish streets accompanied by a marching band and the singing of the Giglio Song ("O' Giglio 'e Paradiso"). A large boat is also carried to represent the boat that brought St. Paulinus and other freed slaves back home. The procession ends at the church, where there is a special Giglio mass. Afterwards, people retake the streets for the lifting and rotating of the giglio—a tricky feat for the 100 or more men who maneuver the three- or four-ton structure.
On July 16 it all happens again, this time with the giglio carrying the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. One of the notable events of the intervening days is the children's giglio, in which children under 16 do their own parading and lifting with much smaller and lighter structures.
See also Lily Festival; Our Lady of Carmel, Feast of
CONTACTS:
Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
275 N. 8th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718-384-0223; fax: 718-384-5838
www.olmcfeast.com
SOURCES:
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 302