It’s amazing to think that two years have passed since the last OLMC Feast. But this July, it’s back, and it’s going to be exciting!
This Italian tradition has been a hallowed part of the Italian-American identity for generations. When Italian immigrants first traveled from Nola, a southern region in Italy outside of Naples, to Williamsburg, they were determined to uphold the passion and practice of celebrating the patron saint of Nola, San Paolino, and did so in conjunction with Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
“We are so excited to be planning for our annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel & San Paolino di Nola, which opens in just a few short weeks [days!]. Since 1887, our feast has taken place in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, once one of Brooklyn’s “Little Italy” neighborhoods. We are excited to be returning to celebrating our faith & traditions this year, especially with the Dancing of the Giglio in honor of San Paolino di Nola. The tradition of the Dance of the Giglio has occurred annually in Williamsburg since 1903 and has truly transcended an ethnic celebration to become one that is an annual affair for all who call this great neighborhood home!”John Perrone, OLMC Publicity Committee
Last year, the OLMC Feast was canceled due to the Coronavirus – the first cancellation of the annual event since World War II. With proper preparation and necessary COVID regulations in place, the OLMC Feast organizers feel confident that they can hold a safe event to honor Our Lady of Mount Caramel.
Official events will begin on Wednesday, July 7th, with a mass followed by a children’s Giglio on Thursday, July 8th. On Sunday, July 11th, 11:30 am mass will be followed by the first lifting of the Giglio at 1:30 pm.
Giglio Sunday: The 118-Year Tradition
Giglio Sunday is often the most thrilling part of the entire celebration. But keep in mind, the lifting of the Giglio is not for the faint of heart. The lifting of the metal seven-story, four-ton (or 8000 pound) Giglio traditionally requires approximately 150 volunteers. Traditionally, this religious practice has often been seen as a right of passage from father to son, and payment of penance for sins for of the community – including for those who are not able to help lift.
Some people might recall that the lift almost didn’t happen in 2019 due to a lack of volunteers, but one silver lining to the close call was the chance to involve neighbors who are new to the tradition. With the excitement around this year’s events, OLMC organizers are hoping to see more new faces turn out to celebrate Giglio Sunday.
Even if you are not involved in the lifting of the Giglio, it is known to be a moving experience to bear witness to. There will be another opportunity to see this magic happen during the second lift, the well-renowned night lift, which will occur on Wednesday, July 14th at 7:30 pm.
Another date to remember is Friday, July 16th, the Feast Day for Our Lady of Mount Carmel! Festivities begin with a 3 pm mass followed by a procession.
“As usual, there will be nightly entertainment, rides, games of chance, and 50+ specialty food vendors lining the streets surrounding our parish on Havemeyer Street! Our air-conditioned café & bazaar will be open every day, along with our outdoor beer-garden, which is a great place to catch up with family & friends after a long year apart!”John Perrone, OLMC Publicity Committee
Finally, the “Old Timer’s Day” on Sunday, July 18th will feature a lift at 3 pm.
Music, games, food, rides, will all be a part of the celebration, as usual, featuring a variety of activities every night of the week from July 7th-July 18th.
If you are able to attend the OLMC scheduled events, or you have the chance to check out the street fair, you can follow the OLMC Instagram account, Facebook account, or visit their website for more details.
If you would like to show your support for OLMC in other ways, an important aspect of this celebration also includes the opportunity to raise funds for the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.