Giglio Procession a Williamsburg Summer Tradition

By Meredith Hoffman on July 5, 2012 11:22am 

WILLIAMSBURG — A 72-foot, four-ton tower will float down the streets on the shoulders of 150 men Thursday night — and that's only the beginning of this year's 125th annual Giglio Feast.

The 12-day Italian Catholic tradition held by Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on North Eighth Street features an opening candlelight procession — with trumpets and drumbeats from the longtime Giglio Band — that kicks off right after the church's 6 p.m. Mass.

The procession commemorates the Biblical story of the safe return from captivity of Saint Paulino, the Bishop of Nola, the church explains on its website.

The men carry gigli (Italian for "lily") structures that are "huge flower-laden steeples of wood" as well as a boat on their shoulders in Paulino's honor, the site explains, in a tradition brought from Nolani immigrants to Brooklyn.

On Friday night kids will have their own procession with a giglio structure at 6 p.m. followed by Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Events continue throughout the next several days, culminating with a huge celebration on Monday, July 16, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

A full schedule of events can be found on the church's website.

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