I know I am a bit late on this post. I completely forgot to blog about Easter! For easter weekend, I wanted to stay in Florence and experience how the Florentines celebrate.
The Saturday before Easter, I was on my way home from Lucca and the flower show and saw a huge fire in front of the Duomo. Don't worry, this fire was on purpose. It was for the candle ceremony for Easter mass. I ended up taking some pictures like the rest of the crowd, then I grabbed a candle and went to the rest of mass. It was an incredible experience, listening to the Latin being sung, seeing the inside of the Duomo all lit up from everyone's candles, and the special lights they put up. This mass was long, ending around midnight, but I'm happy I went.
On Sunday, there were fireworks at the Duomo starting at 11am. I ended up rolling out of bed around 9:30 and thinking that the square is right around the corner, I took my time getting ready. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
I have never seen such a crowd of people before. I ended up getting pretty close to the men dressed in medieval costume who were throwing flags. They were surrounding a 10 foot decorated box, which I thought looked pretty strange. It had a japanese style to it which threw me off. All of a sudden, the box lit up with fireworks! White light showered from the top of the tower, some snapping fireworks shot from the bottom, some were thrown high into the sky. Then, red, purple, and white smoke came out, swirling and circling around the façade of the Duomo. Amazing.
After the show, I was walking around, and a man started motioning to clear a path as if he was Moses parting the sea of tourists. All of a sudden, a man walked a donkey through the crowd. Then another man walked two bulls who had flowers decorating their horns. It took the second set of bulls to walk by for it to hit me that the only thing between these bulls and me is a little old Italian man. Scary.
Finally, I followed the march of drummer boys and men to the commune di firenze. They ended up piling up the stairwell and yelling and pounding the glass. Then, the veteran at the foot of the steps grabbed one of the newbie drummer boys and shoved him up the stairs. Though it looked violent, and sounds violent, everyone seemed to be having a good time. The men in the stairwell would shout and hit the newbies, carrying them up the stairs. The Italians I talked to explained that this was an initiation tradition.
A lot of my friends traveled over easter, but I am really happy I stayed in Florence for the weekend. Some of my friends even said that they wished they had stayed also.