At Williamsburg’s Feast of Mt. Carmel (The Giglio Feast), Italians Make a Four-Ton Tower Dance

Jul 13, 2018 307

A few days out of the year, bands and megaphones drown out the noise of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in a few small blocks of Williamsburg’s Streets, as 50,000+ people come together to celebrate a tradition dating back over 1000 years: The Feast of Mt. Carmel, (The Giglio Feast). While this New York City rendition is a mere 115 years old in comparison, it is started in Nola Italy to honor the selflessness of St. Paolino, as he returned to his native shores sometime between 409-431 C.E.

The current Brooklyn festival centers around a massive tower (called the Giglio), soaring nearly six stories into the air. Over a hundred men lift the four-ton structure, and dance it around the streets, all while and entire band sits atop the structure. The festival also features a rival Pirate Ship (also carried), and on the first day of the “Lift”, the two structures dance in rivalry, each with their own band and leader, before coming together in celebration.


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