The 12-day long Annual Giglio Italian Festival returned to Williamsburg for its 129th year, and it has been a joyous celebration!
Since Wednesday, July 6, thousands of people from all over the world have been enjoying one of Brooklyn’s oldest traditions which commemorates Saint Paolino and honors Our Lady of Mount Carmel with music, games, feasts and masses for people of all ages. Among the highlights was the Children’s Giglio lift, building up to the most famous night of the festival – the Dancing of the Giglio.
On the evening of Wednesday, July 13, thousands of people witnessed the four-ton, five-story Giglio tower being lifted by 120 men at North Ninth and Havermeyer Streets and danced with down Havermeyer Street towards North Eighth Street. The enormous tower also carried an entire performing orchestra and singer, and a mass was celebrated from it.
“The Dancing of the Giglio is what separates us from any other feast and it’s what brings the thousands of people every year,” said Deacon Phil Franco, Giglio Feast historian. “You have to witness it to truly appreciate it.”
The festival doesn’t end with the lift, though. Only a few days later on Saturday, July 16, there will be a tremendous celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which is not only known as an expression of devout faith, but also for the famous event’s diverse and multi-ethnic crowd.
People come from all over the world to show their devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, said Franco, which is why Giglio’s masses are held in multiple languages for the international visitors.
In addition to benefiting the community, the success of the annual festival is a tremendous benefit for the church. In fact, according to Franco, it is the church’s primary fundraiser and many of the programs that the church runs and sponsors would not be feasible without the feast.
“Giglio never fails to bring the community together for tradition,” said Franco. “It’s so intergenerational, you’ll see people of all ages having fun and enjoying it with their family.”
If you haven’t attended the Giglio Festival yet, don’t hesitate to join the rest of the celebration going on until Sunday, July 17. For info on upcoming events, visit olmcfeast.com.