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Easter in Florence: the explosion of the Cart

Easter is coming.. Florence is warm and full of the colors and smells of Spring. In these days temperature has reached 24° and sun is over the city.

There are several tradition in Florence, for Easter holidays.
The main important event is "the scoppio del carro" (=the explosion of the Cart).

The Explosion of the Cart on Easter is one of the oldest traditions in Florentine culture.
The ceremony goes back to the First Crusade, which was called to liberate the Holy Sepulcher from the hands of the infidels. In 1097, under the command of Goffredo di Buglione, the crusaders departed for Palestine and in the summer of 1099 laid siege to and sacked Jerusalem. According to tradition, it was the Florentine Pazzino de’ Pazzi to scale the walls of the Holy City first. For this act of courage, Goffredo di Buglione gave him three shards of the Holy Sepulcher; when he returned to Florence, he donated them to the city in a grand celebration, and they are now preserved in the church of the Holy Apostles.
Historians tell us that after the liberation of Jerusalem, on the day of Holy Saturday, the crusaders gathered in the Church of the Resurrection and gave everyone present holy fire, the symbol of purification. This ceremony was the origin of the Easter tradition of giving out holy fire to the Florentine people. With the passing of time the planning of the festival became increasingly articulated, to the point that the use of a cart to transport the holy fire was introduced, with a tripod full of burning coal.
Today the cart of Easter fire, pulled by oxen and escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and flag-bearers of historic soccer, starts from Piazzale del Prato and arrives in Piazza del Duomo. At this point a metal wire unites the cart to the top of a wood column placed in the center of the choir. In the meantime, a procession begins from the church of the Holy Apostles led by the Gonfalone of Florence and flag-bearers of the Pazzi family, with priests and city officials. At 11.00, to the sounds of “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” the fuse of a rocket is lit and it flies, whistling, to set on fire the fireworks in the cart. According to tradition, if the flight of the rocket is perfect, it will be a positive year for Florence.

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