Scoppio del Carro Festival, Florence, Italy: 21st April

Scoppio del Carro FestivalThe Explosion of the Cart parade, the Scoppio del Carro Festival is held, in Florence, every year on the Easter Sunday. This is a traditional folklore event in which the city residents set on fire pyrotechnic staff. Fireworks and detonators are carried in an ancient wagon of more than 500 years.

Now one of Europe’s grandest Easter spectacles, the ceremony dates to the time of the crusades and celebrates the brave deed by Florentine Pazzino.

According to the local tradition, the Explosion of the Cart parade marks the return of the city resident Pazzino de Pazzi from the Crusades to Jerusalem. When he returned he brought with him flint stones that are known as “holly fire” from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The stones are kept in the Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles.

In addition to the fireworks, the detonators explode also and add their noise to the general din and excitement. According to Florence tradition, the blessed fire and light promise good harvest, business and stable community life.

Starting around 10am, a priest rubs Pazzino’s three flints together until they spark and light the Easter candle; this, in turn, is used to light some coals which are placed in a container on the Cart and the procession delivers the Holy Fire to the Archbishop of Florence before Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo. The cart is accompanied by drummers, flag throwers and figures dressed in historical costume as well as city officials and clerical representatives.

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