I’ve been involved in this Feast my whole
life. I’ve been participating for my whole life.
I’ve been participating in the Feast my whole life. The Feast has been going on for 129 years. It’s part of our roots, and it’s just in our
blood. People that are in this neighborhood all their lives get involved. It’s in their
blood; they’re here every year. When you do it you feel pride and happiness
to celebrate a tradition that’s been brought over from Italy and from our ancestors.
You know, you plan your summer around the feast. Nobody gets married during the feast;
nobody goes on vacation during the feast. It’s something that’s central.
Giglio lift is everybody comes down; we get underneath the statues. The Capo Paranza gives
the commands to lift it. And each capo would have his own song and we dance it through
the streets. The Number One has to okay all the lifts.
It took me over 40 years to go from a lifter to the Number One Capo Paranza.
It’s something that really has to be experienced. It’s something that you could describe it
and that’s nice, but to be there and to see this tremendous tower literally dancing down
the street is very amazing. The Giglio may not be going from point A to
point B. It could be spinning in a circle; it could be bouncing and dancing in one position.
The Giglio with the full band is approximately four tons. You don’t have to be a muscle man.
You just got to be able to have endurance more than anything.
You learn how to walk maybe inside. You might talk to the guy in front of you and he’ll
walk one way with his legs/feet open. You’ll walk with your feet closed, just so you’re
not stepping on each other’s feet. But you just pick those things up as you go along.
The idea for many of these men, they’re lifting for someone. They’re lifting for someone who
passed away or perhaps as a penance for their own sins, or to give honor to the saint or,
of course, to give honor to God for their ability to lift. Some men have made a promise
that they will continue to lift as long as they’re able. So there is a great spiritual
significance to it as well. Even that faith aspect of it is very sacred to many of the
men who are under there. It’s not just cultural; it’s also something that’s very spiritual
and uniquely Catholic. It’s at the end of your lift, you say “Uaglio’!”
That’s like, all right, guys, get ready. “Aizate i’ spalle!” is get it up. “Gungi-Gung’!” is
get ready again. “Aggett’!” is throw it; it means drop it.
Uaglio’! Aizate i’ spalle! Gungi-Gung’! Aggett’! That’s the biggest challenge is to make sure
the Giglio is safe, the lifts are safe. That’s the main thing and then everything falls into
place. People put up with it years ago because it
was part of their tradition, but not the new people here. It’s not part of their tradition.
We’re trying to get them involved, we invite them to come, and we hope they do. And we
hope they understand that although they’re in the neighborhood, they call us the leftovers.
That’s what we’re called now. This is a tradition that should be respected like we respect them.