August 12, 2013

A Look at the 2013 Feast of the Giglio di Sant'Antonio, East Harlem, New York

Viva Sant'Antonio!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Bruscianese pride, devotion and brawn were on display in East Harlem on Sunday for the annual Feast of the Giglio di Sant'Antonio. Hundreds gathered outside historic Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine Church to partake in the festivities and honor Brusciano's glorious patron, Saint Anthony of Padua, "the Lily of Lisbon." 

The giglio
Needless to say, the Giglio Society of East Harlem really know how to throw a party! In addition to all the delicious food and beverages, there were plenty of fun rides for the kids, spectacular music and, of course, the giglio, a towering structure of wood and papier-mâché crowned with a statue of the saint.

The lifting, or dancing, of the giglio is an old-world tradition originating in the 5th century in Campania. Immigrants brought the custom to East Harlem from Brusciano back in the early 1900s. It moved for a time to the Bronx, but the celebration was brought back to Harlem thirteen years ago. Thankfully, the Bronx just recently renewed its giglio tradition.

This year's giglio facade was a gift from l'Associazione Giglio della Gioventù from Brusciano. Resembling a church interior, it was shipped over in sections and reassembled by the Giglio Society. Proudly paraded around the parish on the shoulders of a hundred men, its exquisite design and craftsmanship was most impressive.

As always, it was nice to see some old friends and familiar faces. I'm grateful to the Giglio Society of East Harlem for preserving our culture and religious traditions. Events like these help keep the bonds of family and community alive.

Luckily we get to do it again next weekend at the Feast of San Rocco.
Members of the Giglio Society of East Harlem carry
Saint Anthony from the outdoor chapel to the church for Mass 
Tenor Jimmy Alleva and the Danny Vecchiano Giglio Band
did a rousing rendition of the National Anthem 
Marching towards the church
The giglio was rockin' 
Above and below: A labor of love and devotion
A good time was had by all
Another look at the giglio 
The ladies join in... 
...and make it look easy 
The Feast helps raise money to fight breast cancer
The giglio wasn't the only masterpiece on hand:
Sausage and peppers from Cuzzin Vinny's Sausage Stand 
Insalata di frutti di Mare from Tony Pesce
Wood oven pizza Napoletana from Sanducci's
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