The world-famous Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast will kick off on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, with an opening night Mass and procession, led by Bishop Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn. Then 12 days of faith, family, food, and summer fun will fill the streets of Williamsburg, a tradition that dates back to 1887. 

“Summer doesn’t begin in Williamsburg until the opening of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The highlight of the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is our feast! It is the pulse and showcase of our parish family,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Williamsburg.

Highlights of the 12-day festival include:

  • An opening Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at 7 p.m. at the Church located at 275 N. 8th Street in Brooklyn at 7:00 p.m.
  • The children’s Giglio and Family Night on Thursday, July 6, 2023, and Tuesday, July 11, both starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Dancing of the Giglio and Boat Parade on Sunday, July 9, 2023, at 1:30 p.m.
  • The Night Dancing of the Giglio on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Five Masses to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Sunday, July 16, 2023, with a Vigil Mass set for Saturday, July 15 at 11 p.m.
  • Capo Parade and Dancing of the Giglio on Sunday, July 16, 2023, at 1:30 p.m.

“While this Feast celebrates a cherished Italian American tradition, it truly doesn’t matter your age or origin, there is something for everyone at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast. We look forward to seeing many new and old friends joining us for a special time complete with great food, entertainment, games, and of course the dancing of our world-famous Giglio” said John Notaro, the General Chairman of the OLMC Feast.

The Giglio is a seven-story tower structure decorated with Gigli (flowers) and the image of St. Paulinus. A platform at the base of the tower supports a twelve-piece brass band and singer. The entire assemblage—tower and band—is hoisted and carried by 112 dancing and marching men, the lifters. Each lift begins with the official feast song, written in Williamsburg and used since 1959, “O Giglio e Paradiso.”

A separate boat, complete with fitted mast, sail, and rigging, represents the ship that returned St. Paulinus from captivity. Like the Giglio, it has a band and singer and is also carried and danced through the streets. This tradition was transplanted to Brooklyn, New York by the Nolani immigrants from Italy.