Monday, June 07, 2010

The Dancing of the Giglio and Boat
The story, which is passed on through the generations on both sides of the Atlantic, is that around 410 AD, North African pirates overran the town of Nola. In the chaos, Bishop Paolino was able to flee into the countryside with some of the children. Upon his return, Paolino learned, from a sobbing widow that many of the young men, her son included, had been abducted into slavery. Moved to compassion, Paolino offered himself in exchange for the boy and was ferried off, a prisoner of the brigands. While in North Africa, word of the courage and self-sacrifice of Paolino spread and became known to a certain Turkish sultan. Taken with the tale of altruism, the sultan intervened, negotiating for the freedom of this holy man. Through the sultan 's efforts, Paolino and his paesani, were freed.
The Dancing of the Giglio and Boat commemorate the people going on to sea to meet the saint's captors as they return him to his people. Other histories refer to the kidnappers as Huns but it was the Germanic Vandals who moved north into Sicily (and the transformation of German into Hun has stuck). At Mt Carmel they're referred to as Turks and the iconography is Turkish and Islamic.

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