At the turn of the 20th century many immigrants from Nola, Brusciano and other towns in Italy decided to come to New York in search of a better life for themselves and their family. The people from Nola settled in 2 areas of New York City, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens bringing their beloved tradition of “A Festa O’Giglio” in honor of San Paolino and Sant’ Antonio Di Padua to their new hometown.
Brooklyn, NY – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cooperative Feast:
Brooklyn’s feast started in 1903 and is still celebrated today every July on the streets of Williamsburg in conjunction with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and is the largest of our Giglio festivals. Brooklyn’s cooperated feast celebrates 2 saints, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and San Paolino Di Nola.
Astoria, NY – San Paolino Feast:
The Astoria feast ran for many years in the Ravenswood section of Queens at Saint Rita’s Parish at the end of June. They also honored San Paolino Di Nola who is the patron saint of Nola but as the older residents died off and moved away the feast ended in 1996.
East Harlem, NY – Festa O’Giglio in Honor of Sant’ Antonio Di Padua:
Immigrants from Brusciano settled in an area of East Harlem on and around 106th street between the East River and Lexington Avenue. They also brought their beloved tradition of “A Festa O’Giglio” in honor of Sant’ Antonio Di Padua to their new neighborhood. East Harlem happens to be my family’s hometown. The first Giglio feast on 106th street in East Harlem started approximately in 1908. It was held the beginning of September, Labor day weekend. My grandfather, Gioacchino Vivolo is credited for being the first Capo Paranza on 106th Street. He came to America in December of 1907 at the age of 26 aboard the “Re d Italia” steamship leaving behind a wife (Concetta) and a baby girl (Anna) with the love of Sant’ Antonio and the passion for the Giglio. He eventually sent for his wife and daughter after he settled on 106th street in East Harlem in 1908. He along with his brother Rocco Vivolo were members of the “Bruscianese Society” and were influential in bringing this tradition to East Harlem from Brusciano, Italy along with others from that town.
The Giglio feast of Sant’ Antonio continued on 106th street until 1955. After 2 years the feast moved 2 blocks north to 108th street where it ran until 1971. After a 29 year hiatus the Giglio feast returned to East Harlem in the year 2000 on 115th street in association with The Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church and is still celebrated on Pleasant Avenue every August.
Franklin Square, Long Island, NY – Sons of San Paolino Di Nola Feast:
In 2006, a group of men joined together and decided with passion and love that it would be an honor to establish the celebration and tradition of paying tribute to San Paolino Di Nola on Long Island at the end of June. The members of our organization come from all different areas of New York and our love for this tradition can be traced back to our families’ ancestry in Italy. Over the years, many of our members have crossed paths during other celebrations for San Paolino that were held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Astoria, Queens – Bronx, New York – East Harlem, New York – Cliffside Park, New Jersey – Brusciano, Italy and in its original home of Nola, Italy. We celebrate the feast of San Paolino in Franklin Square by carrying a beautiful 70 foot structure on our shoulders in his honor. We hope to continue this wonderful tradition for many years to come.