Why the Giglio Tradition in Williamsburg Cannot Be Missed

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Currents News Staff

A big Brooklyn tradition is “carrying” on tonight – all four tons of it.  Parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel are once again parading Saint Paulinus through the streets of Williamsburg.

The giglio – a 72-foot tower adorned with the patron saint of Nola, Italy – is the highlight of the 12-day-long feast and tonight is the much-loved nighttime lift.

It’s a neighborhood tradition spanning generations back to when Williamsburg was populated by mostly Italian immigrants. The man behind the festivities is the church’s pastor, Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello says it’s also a way of reconnecting people to the faith.

“And really what it does,” says Msgr. Jamie, “it connects them to their loved ones who have died… They see their parents and grandparents walking down the street holding their hands when they lift that giglio. They remember their loved ones who aren’t here anymore and they’re right next to them they lift that giglio in their honor.

I think people should come to the feast to experience the spirit of faith… to experience faith in a different way… bringing our faith into the streets, celebrating our traditions.”

The giglio feast has been around since 1903 and this year, it took more than 100 “lifters” to carry it.

There’s still time to take Msgr. Jamie’s advice and join in on the fun. At 2 p.m. on July 16, Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzio will celebrate the feast day Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The festivities will all come to an end on Sunday July 17 with the old-timers day Giglio lift at 3 p.m. It’s a Brooklyn tradition that cannot be missed.

Giglio Feast

Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m. – Mt. Carmel Feast Day Mass

Sunday, July 17 at 3 p.m. – Old Timers Day Giglio Lift