The Gigli Feast of Nola a tribute to the patron saint, the citizens, the traditions: let's learn about it for its 1594th edition.

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We have finally reached that exciting time of year that many eagerly await, which is the time of patronal feasts and festivals. These moments of urban gathering, which joyfully greet the arrival of the warm season, are an opportunity to disconnect from the daily routine, taste local specialties and listen to good music while immersing in a festive atmosphere. Beyond the sacred worthiness, these experiences help to reconnect with our own roots, with the folklore of the places we belong to.

Some Italian patronal feasts are quite distinct and evocative, and taking a couple of days to attend the celebrations is really worth it. Today we focus on one of them, a must-see event in the province of Naples and throughout Campania, the Gigli Feast of Nola, and particularly on the upcoming edition.

Discover more about The Foundation Gigli Feast of Nola

What’s the Gigli Feast in Nola?


The Gigli Feast of Nola honors the beloved figure of the local co-patron St. Paulinus,  father of the Church and secondary patron of Campania after St. Gennaro.

St. Paulinus  was a bishop in the fifth century and supported the city during the barbarian invasions, giving up his possessions and risking his own life. When Nola was saved, according to legend, Paulinus was celebrated by his fellow citizens with a grand parade, the so-called “ Consorteries of Arts and Crafts”procession, whose symbol was the lily. Soon, splendid handcrafted obelisks, made of wood and papier-mâché and hand-painted, were conceived as representatives of the trades, actual pieces of art that came to be called, precisely, Lilies - Gigli in Italian.

More than a thousand years have passed since then, but the celebration ritual has remained virtually unchanged: the procession of decorated spires through the city's narrow medieval alleys, carried on the shoulders in time to music, each by a team of 120 people, called a “paranza” accompanies long celebrations. There are eight spires, as many as there are artisan guilds, and they hold in a plastic embrace the boat, another festive machine that parades during the event dedicated to St. Paulinus and is the symbol of the history on which the centuries-old tradition is based. 

This is certainly the event of the year in the city and it is one of the oldest festivals in Italy, attracting large numbers of patrons and being included among the Intangible Heritage of UNESCO in 2013.

The Gigli Feast is generally held June, this year on the 30th-but it does not last a single day, as it is the culmination of a year-long preparation ritual involving the construction of the obelisks and the organization of performances, but essentially the festival lasts 12 months. And also, as we said, the events that accompany the highlight day entertain citizens and visitors both before and after, until the end of the month

For the 2024 edition, which has arrived at number 1594, the manifesto and program announcement has been made for the first time on May 31 in Piazza Duomo, at the stroke of midnight that marks the beginning of the hottest month, in order to involve the citizens from the very first moment. 

More than a thousand years have passed since the first celebration, but the ritual has remained virtually unchanged. That's why a truly impactful claim was chosen for this year, 'Faith in the Future', indicating the concept on which the entire organization by Francesco De Falco, head of the foundation 'Festa dei Gigli', was based: the event we are witnessing is a centuries-old one in which the city's roots are embedded but which never leaves aside its gaze toward the future and the next generations, to whom it leaves as a legacy the traditions and crafts of those who make it possible, so that they may transmit it. This mindset certainly infuses even more value into the priceless UNESCO acknowledgement.

A long-lasting feast, among music and food

Gigli Feast of Nola 2024, among traditions, food and music

But what will be the planned events for the Gigli Fest 2024?

Of course, the absolute protagonists will be the obelisks and the crew that will carry them on their shoulders through the streets of the city, each representing an artisan guild - Ortolano, Salumiere, Bettoliere, Panettiere, Beccaio, Calzolaio, Fabbro, Sarto e Barca - alternating with the usual masses and religious commemorations. Many other events will take place in Nola during the following 12 months, until the next nomination of the masters of ceremony.

As an accompaniment to these, the emphasis will be placed, as mentioned above, on music, an indispensable element of Campania's ethnographic tradition, and for this reason already for the May 31 opening, people enjoyed the best of Mediterranean jazz, soul and funk, musical genres that have always been present in the local scene but have lately been experiencing a sort of renaissance.

Among the guests of the evening will be PS5 with Pomigliano Jazz, a festival partner, Serena Brancale and Bassolino, Onofrio Piccolo, Pietro Santangelo and numerous DJs such as Alfonso Mauro and Peppe Vetrano. Also taking the stage will be the festival masters, leading the groups of the various craft guilds and their related Gigli.

For the rest of June, artists from Campania, including musicians, singers, dancers and actors, will accompany the continuation of the ritual each day, from the raising of the borde (wooden stalks around which the Gigli are built) to their dressing, but also their deposition, which is an integral part of it - among them Enzo Gragnaniello, the 99 Posse, Tony Tammaro. There will be no shortage of entertainment for children and moments of discussion on current events. To conclude the festivities, finally, Zero Assoluto and Elettra Lamborghini will perform in concert, scheduled for early July. Many other events, finally, will touch Nola throughout the year, until the next festival masters are appointed. 

And in a great collective feast such as this one, food certainly cannot be left out: since last year, in fact, in parallel with the canonical rituals, a real food village was born, where it is possible to taste a lot of excellence and food and wine specialties offered by the best places and restaurants in Campania, which, by way of exception, move to Nola with their own stands. Of course, local breweries, wineries and wineries will be present for those who want to accompany their dinner or simply sip a glass in company.

The appointment for the magical parade of decorated towers must wait a few more days, but the party has just begun.

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