The Explosion of the Florentine Cart

 

The explosion of the Florentine car is one of the most characteristic folk events in central Italy, which takes place during Easter. The celebration dates back to the First Crusade, called to free the Holy Sepulcher from the hands of the infidels.

The story says that a young Florentine names Pazzino, a member of the noble Pazzi family, who during the First Crusade in the Holy War of 1099, proved to have great courage. He was the first to climb up on the walls of Jerusalem, and lift up the Christian banner. In honor of this brave act, the young man received three splinters from the Holy Sepulcher from Godfrey of Bouillon, which today are conserved in the Church of the Holy Apostles. After the liberation of Jerusalem, on the occasion of Holy Saturday, the Crusaders gathered in prayer delivered the Benedictine Fire to everyone, symbolizing the purification of souls.

On the occasion of this ancient folk tradition, hundreds of spectators both tourists and locals, gather in the main square to watch the colorful spectacle offered to them by the city of Florence on Easter Day. This ceremony dates back to the Easter custom of the Florentines who came to the cathedral and lit a small torch from the Holy Fire (ignited with sparks caused by the rubbing of three stones), then go in procession through the city and bring the holy fire to every home. Through time the holiday has been enhanced increasingly. The Brindellone, decorated cart, (2-3 story tower-shaped tank) was then introduced, it was first made in 1622 and is pulled by two oxen adorned with garlands around the streets of Florence, to Piazza del Duomo, precisely in the space that lies between the baptistery and the cathedral.

To initiate the ceremony, it is customary at around 10 in the morning for a priest to rub three flints in order to light the Easter candle and then set fire to a pile of coal placed directly on the bandwagon. After concluding the procession in which the wagon is accompanied by city officials, representatives of the clergy, drummers and flag bearers dressed in historical clothing, deliver the Holy Fire to the Archbishopric in front of the Baptistery, which hosts the religious services. At 11 am the procession is moved to the Cathedral, where a dove-shaped rocket is set fire during the song "Gloria in excelsis Deo” (hence the derivation of its name Colombina, meaning small dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit). The dove rocket follows a thread that traces the entire external nave of the church and goes directly into the wagon, lighting the firecrackers and fireworks on the Brindellone. The show lasts about 20 minutes and is accompanied by the applause of the spectators who admire the distribution of the Holy Fire in the whole city (of course symbolically), with astonishment.

Superstition predicts that if the ritual proceeds regularly, there will be a fruitful, rich and abundant harvest for the year. The last time the ceremony did not go as expected was in 1966 (the year when a terrible floor took place in November, which wreaked havoc and damage not only on the city of Florence, but also most of Tuscany).

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