"Hand-Dipped Zeppole," and much more!

We made it in time this year! Saw the Williamsburg "Dancing of the Giglio" this hot sunday afternoon. Not just saw it, but were almost in the middle of the 100-plus beefy Italian guys who shouldered the four-ton monster tower in an exercise of testosterone, some 1600 years of tradition, real devotional piety, community and cultural pride, and good sport.

By the way, they really do dance under there, and turn about! Here they are twirling the whole steel and papier mache monster with the parish priest, the sound man and an entire brass band onboard along with the saints. It's something like a Neapolitan Tarantella, not surprisingly.

Ok, I was teary for a moment, just as they first lifted off. Their focus was pretty impressive, and I'm a sucker for maleness restrained. Also a history buff.

One of the links on Bloggy may be unique in addressing the problematic side of this male-oriented and occasionally self-described "sacred act of devotion and penance."

"[Documentary film director Tony De Nono] is obviously a fan of the feast and its importance to the community, he also points out that women have been excluded from lifting the Brooklyn Giglio, though their sisters in Nola have lifted, albeit in "ceremonial lifts."

"In Brooklyn the question still seems doubtful if women lifters will ever be allowed to partake in this glorious festival as lifters," Badalucco narrates. "But since the Brooklyn structure is made up of unpliable, unforgiving solid metal beams with pointed corners that dig in the shoulder, the question is whether the women would ever want to lift this towering structure." (The beams in other Giglio structures, in Queens and other tri-state feasts, are made of wood.)

De Nonno said that while compiling footage for his documentary, he witnessed little girls "sneaking" under the children's Giglio, disguising their long hair under hats so they could participate. In 1999, the girls were officially asked for the first time to participate in the Brooklyn children's Giglio dance.

Oh, we also noticed that the loaves of bread distributed as part of Fesival tradition are of exactly the same shape and fold as those found in the two-millenia-old ruins of Pompei, on the other side of Vesuvius.

Don't miss Bloggy's images! Much more than just zeppoles.

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Published on July 7, 2002 8:19 PM.

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