The 2016 Giglio. All photos by Megan Penmann, from the 2016 OLMC Feast.

If you live anywhere near the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on North 8th and Havemeyer, then certainly you have experienced the majesty that is the Giglio Feast. It’s not just a 12-day church carnival with midway games, ferris wheel, sugary drinks and fried foods, but the fest also carries with it a strong Italian tradition.

In 2016 we wrote about the history of the Giglio tower, and here’s a snippet from that piece:

“The Giglio used locally in the yearly celebration is a seven-story tower composed of aluminum, papier-mâché, and plastic painted and decorated with gigli and the image of St. Paulinus. A platform at the base of the tower supports a twelve-piece brass band and singer. The entire assemblage—tower and band—is hoisted and carried by 112 dancing and marching men, the paranza (lifters). A separate boat, complete with fitted mast, sail, and rigging, represents the ship that returned St. Paulinus from captivity. Like the Giglio, it has a band and singer and is also carried and danced through the streets. Members of the Vecchiano Festival Band perform on both the Giglio and the “boat.”

Marching band music accompanies the Giglio for much of the way as it is carried along the procession route, but it is the Giglio song that actually makes the Giglio dance. The Giglio’s route is punctuated by a series of “lifts,”by brawny Italian Americans from the area, which last roughly three minutes and cover approximately thirty feet. Each lift begins with the official feast song, written in Williamsburg and used since 1959, “O Giglio e Paradiso.” The band ends the music to the first stanza with a crescendo, the Capo raises his cane, and the 112 lifters become the single paranza that lifts the Giglio off the ground and then makes the structure dance.”

The feast started yesterday, and here’s the official schedule:

  • OPENING NIGHT| July 5th, 7pm Mass
  • Questua | July 7th, 11am
  • GIGLIO SUNDAY | July 8th, 12pm Mass, 1:30pm 1st lift
  • Children’s Giglio Lift | July 10th, 6pm
  • Giglio Night Lift | July 11th, 7pm
  • Old Timers Day Giglio Lift | July 15th, 2pm



Dee Best Calzones at last year’s fest.
Packed streets at the 2016 feast.
Lemons on the chain.
Packed streets.

This post was originally published on July 7th, 2017 and has been updated with information for the 2018 Giglio Feast.

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