In Florence, Italy, since at least the 14th century, Easter has been marked by the custom of “exploding the cart”: faith, history, passion and popular tradition come together to give life to an event that is unique in the world.
This ritual has a legendary origin. A young Florentine, Pazzino di Pazzi, took part in the first crusade and was the first to scale the walls of Jerusalem and unfurl his red and white banner. For such a heroic action Godfrey of Bouillon rewarded him with three flints from the Holy Sepulchre. Since then, the stones have been kept in several churches in Florence.
We accompany the cart.
We are in the middle of a huge crowd. In front of the cart there is a procession of drums, trumpets, locals dressed in ancient costumes; they are grouped by social class and by profession.
Finally the carriage arrives between the cathedral and the baptistery.
Eggs (cooked) are distributed to the public. Flags of Florence are thrown in the air.
At 10 a.m., a priest lights the Paschal candle using the three flints awarded to Pazzino di Pazzi. At 11 a.m., a wooden dove, propelled along a metal wire by a powder system, climbs 12 m high, leaves the cathedral, lights the fireworks on the cart and returns to its place in the church choir. Of course this ceremony was inaccessible to us, but, outside, we witnessed the fire of the cart (it has resisted fire for several centuries already): fire, rockets, firecrackers, sparks... it is a joyful ceremony and most extraordinary.
Association of Nantes