Festa dei Gigli (Festival of Lilies) di Nola
The Festival of Lilies is a popular Catholic celebration that takes place every year at Nola on the occasion of the patron saint celebration dedicated to San Paolino. With this event the Nolani recall the return to the city of Pontius Meropio Paolino from the captivity by the barbarians in the first half of the fifth century. The party is part of the “Celebrations of big shoulder-borne processional structures”, which has been inserted since December 2013 in the UNESCO’s Oral and Intangible Heritage.
The festival takes place on June 22nd every year, if it falls on Sunday or the next, if midweek day, and consists of the dancing procession of the 8 Lilies and the Boat. Wooden obelisks are named after the ancient arts and crafts corporations.
The Lilies and the Boat go along a traditional path perched in the oldest nucleus of the city at the rhythm of original pieces and reinterpretations drawn from the Neapolitan, Italian and international musical traditions performed by a musical band placed on the basis of the structure. The event covers the entire course of the day. During the morning, the Lilies and the Boat are transported to Piazza Duomo, the main square of Nola, where the bishop is solemnly blessed.
From early afternoon to dawn on Monday, the structures and riders carrying them face spectacular skills and strengths. The celebration program goes beyond the party and follows an articulated and complex ceremony, disciplined by a precise script, over a full-time span of one year. The tradition of the party is interspersed with that of corporations in which precise duties were devoted to patronage parties, aimed at consolidating the internal and relational relations of affiliates with the rest of civil society.
The “Corporate Master” is the one who bragging the tradition of the oldest licensing of the industry is invested, after having applied for the common, the honor of organizing celebrations for the patron saint of a single lily or boat. He orchestrates a “Master of Feast”, the “Musical Master” and the “Chief of Paranza”.
The attribution of the lily or boat to the feast master is underlined by a symbolic “passage of the flag” representing the effigy of the patron from the hands of the organizer of the previous event to the new. To this rite follows the “hunt”, a traditional festive announcement for the alleys of the historic center of cyclic renewal of the event with the organization of the process that will lead to the new party.
Each holiday master organizes various events including “tavuliate”, riff meals for the collection of funds necessary for the celebration and for charitable works. The day before the party, in the “parade of committees”, hundreds of people wearing the same uniform celebrate the obelisks in their stations with songs and dances.