Each July, Williamsburg welcomes Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church’s annual Giglio Feast, a celebration of Paulinus, the patron saint of the southern Italian city Nola. The story holds that when Nola was beset by pirates, Paulinus offered himself in exchange for a boy pirates abducted as a slave. When Paulinus returned to Nola, Nolanis honored him with lilies, symbolic of love and purity.
Since 1903, the Brooklyn feast has featured fleets of volunteers lifting 82-foot-tall giglis—huge flower-laden steeples of wood—into the air and parading them through the streets.
Nicki Ishmael hit the streets of Williamsburg to get a close look at the celebration.