135th Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast July 6–17
“The Feast of the Giglio is for the people of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) what Christmas is like for Children! It lifts our spirits and brings us joy!” Said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, pastor of OLMC.
Monsignor Gigantiello was installed as pastor of OLMC in 2017, but although that year was his first Giglio as pastor, it wasn’t his first OLMC Feast. He was one of the lifters of the Giglio tower when he was a seminarian in 1994.
But wait, what is the Giglio? With our ever-growing and changing neighborhood, there are bound to be people who don’t know.
It’s pronounced: Gee-Lee-Oh. This annual festival celebrates the Italian roots of the community, so there are cigars a-smoking, zeppoles a-frying, sausage and peppers and braciole a-grillin, and other street fair fare like carnival rides and games. All the proceeds go to support the churches of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and The Church of the Annunciation.
But wait, there’s more. The stand-out signature of this festival is an eight-story tower that is estimated to weigh 2–5 tons. Why does the weight matter? Because on Giglio Sunday (July 10, this year) men of the parish and community will hoist the tower on their backs and “dance” the tower down Havemeyer. In addition to the tower’s weight, a brass band goes along for the ride. From the other side of the festival is a boat that holds The Turk and his entourage plus another brass band. This too is carried on the backs of men and danced up Havemeyer to meet the Giglio tower. I don’t think the following can be stressed enough: this happens in July, in the summer. I’ve been to a Giglio Sunday when it was in the upper 90s and high humidity. It is a true feat to witness.
This feast honors Saint Paulinus, who exchanged his freedom so a slave could go free. A Turkish sultan (The Turk) heard this story and in turn negotiated for Paulinus’s freedom. When Paulinus returned home his community greeting him with arms full of lilies (gigli).
The OLMC Feast aka Giglio runs from July 6–17 on Havemeyer from North 5th to North 9th Streets. Special events: Giglio Sunday (Dancing of the Giglio & Boat), July 10 at 1:30 p.m.; Giglio Night Lift, July 13 at 7 p.m.; Old Timers Day Giglio Lift, July 17 at 3 p.m. For other events and more info: www.olmcfeast.com/this-years-feast