giovedì 17 aprile 2014

Easter Sunday: Explosion of the cart in Florence

Author: Gayane Simonyan

Explosion of the cart

There is a big event in Florence for Easter called Scoppio del Carro, or the "Explosion of the cart". On Easter Sunday, a cart packed full of fireworks and other pyrotechnics is lit and provides a historic spectacle in the civic life of the city.

According to a tradition mentioned by medieval Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani, this ceremony is related to the First Crusade, preached by bishop Ranieri de Pazzi.

For over 500 years the Easter celebration in Florence has included this ritual, during which on Sunday morning the antique cart moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo. Hauled by a group of white oxen festooned with garlands of the first flowers and herbs of spring, the cart is accompanied by around 150 musicians, soldiers and people dressed like in 15th century.

The fire is lit using the historical flints from Jerusalem at Chiesa degli Santi Apostoli, and it is then carried in procession to the cathedral square by members of the Pazzi family, city officials and some clerics.
Beautiful cart near Duomo

The antique cart is loaded with fireworks while a wire, stretching to the high altar inside the cathedral, is fitted with a mechanical dove: "colombina". Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the Gloria in excelsis Deo during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence lights a fuse in the colombina with the Easter fire. It then speeds through the church to inflame the cart outside.

The bells of Giotto's campanile ring during all this period. The fireworks last approximately 20 minutes and a successful display from the "Explosion of the Cart" is assumed to guarantee a good harvest, a good business and a stable civic life.

A glimpse of hope for a good harvest

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