Wednesday, August 7, 2013

☞ INTRODUCING: East Harlem Giglio 2013

Sunday, August 11th, Giglio Festival 2013, lifts starts at 1:30 PM, at East Harlem's Pleasant Avenue from East 114th to East 116th Street. The photos above are from 1955, 1960 and 2010 showing the Giglio Festival as celebrated in East Harlem on 114th Street. As one can see, a large group of volunteer men carry a giant, conical, aluminum-frame, papier mache covered, religious artifact on their shoulders down the street, as onlookers make music and merriment. There's also a live band that plays on the lower platform of the six-story tall obelisk. Apparently, this is a tradition more than a millenium old from the old country brought to New York City by Italian immigrants.

As these families moved out to the suburbs by the mid-20th century, customs like these started getting lost. Yet the annual multi-day festival returned to East Harlem's Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in 2000 and will carry on again this week. Sort of like the Running of the Bulls (the lifters wear matching tees and colorful kerchiefs around their necks which change in theme every year along with the look of the sculptural religious pole) but without the possibly-getting-gored factor. In addition, there's a whole lot of returning East Harlem Italians, calzones and zeppoles. There's actually many family friendly food stands, games and rides at this event so everyone should check it out. We went for the first time a couple of years back and highly recommend it for folks uptown. It's one of those real pure New York events that many New Yorkers don't get to witness anymore.

The main ceremony happens Sunday but there are other scheduled events starting Thursday. Check out the full list of activities on the official website:

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