Wednesday Morning Music (Special Edition): “Gonna Fly Now” (Theme from “Rocky”)

As my lovely wife Chris and I were headed to Sunday’s Williamsburg Waterfront concert we took a detour through the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast and were lucky enough to catch the dance of the Giglio. Even better, we got to catch the Giglio meeting “la barca” (“the boat”) at the intersection of Havemeyer and 8th (video below the fold). I’ll let the chairman of the festival explain:

The Giglio [weight: 3+ tons—KK] is a statue on top of about a 65- or 70-foot tower decorated to look like a lily, and the statue on top is St. Paulinus. The Giglio is made up of a steel and aluminum frame, and it’s in three or four sections that are hoisted into place with a crane. The face of the Giglio, which is the lily, is made out of papier- maché and wood and cardboard tied to the frame ... and the face of the statue is painted. So the statue of Paulinus sits at the very top of the lily tower, and on the base is a 10-piece band that plays music (and the guys in the band like to eat - they’re pretty heavy!) and the Giglio “dances” to that music when lifted.

So why do neighborhood men risk throwing out their backs to hoist it?

Well, it’s a reenactment of the ritual that took place. Roughly about 100-130 guys pick up the statue, and the statue is lifted several times through the afternoon, and we dance through the streets to the music. And then, of course, the boat [another 3 tons, requiring another 100 men] is lifted at the same time, which signifies St. Paulinus coming back to Nola, and the Giglio is the lily meeting him. And the boat and the Giglio are lifted together a few times during the festival and come together. The dancing of the Giglio happens three different times during the 11-day festival, beginning today.

MORE: Good history/overview here if you’re interested.

Posted by Kevin K. on 07/15/09 at 07:37 AM • Permalink

Categories: MusicLocal Music -- NYCMusic VideosNew York CityBrooklynRelijunYouTubidity

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Looks like a wonderful time!

I lived in the Italian section of Boston for a few years (ages ago), and there was always a street festival of some sort in the non-frozen season. Fun! Sausages!

Usually the participants carried a statue around that had streamers with dollar bills attached to them. I never saw one as massive as the ones in your vid, though…

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