NYC Giglio Feast Faces New Dilemma as Lifters Are in Short Supply

Jun 16, 2019 380

Thousands of feast-goers take over Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood every summer to witness the lifting of the Giglio—a 4-ton, 72-foot statue that’s carried through the crowd by roughly 180 men. This year marks the 116th anniversary of the larger-than-life tradition, which honors Italian Saint Paulinas of Nola, who sacrificed himself to save others and in return was greeted with giglio (lilies).

But, the century-old tradition has been hit with an unexpected challenge: there are not enough strongmen to carry the massive statue. According to WLNY-CBS, the organizer — Our Lady of Mount Carmel church — has been forced to actively recruit lifters for the first time in the feast’s history. Organizers point to the dwindling number of Italian families in the neighborhood, and the rise of gentrification.

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