lunedì 25 marzo 2013

Happy new (Florentine) year!

The New Florentine year is one of the official festivities of the city of Florence and it is celebrated every year on March 25th. This is to remind that for Florence until 1750 the first day of the year was March 25th and not January 1st as it is today.

The Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci, Uffizi Gallery
The reason has to be found in religion and in Florence devotion to the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church in fact estabilished that the new year should begin the very day of the Annunciation. According to the medieval manifest the Golden Legend, the first written account of the lives of the Saints byJacopo da Voragine, on March 25th at noon (nine months before Christmas day) the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would have been the Mother of Jesus, while  Mary was reading the Book of Isaiah that prophesizes the conception of Jesus (see the scene often represented in paintings of the angel arriving while Mary has always a book in her hand, or in case of Leonardo representation, this is put on a very elegant lectern).

1582 the new Gregorian Calendar reorganized the year as it is nowaday, but Florence refused to convert to that until the Granduke Francesco III di Lorena made a law fixing January 1st as the beginning of the civil year.

The Celebrations of the ancient new year's beginning take place at the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, a church founded by the Servi di Maria, a mendicant order born in Florence around 1233 and whose object is the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, (Servi di Maria means literally Mary's servants). Inside the beautiful basilica there is a fresco with the image of the Announciation, which is the arrival point of the parade starting from Piazzetta di Parte Guelfa in Florence at 14:45.

The parade of the Florentine Republic arriving in Piazza Ss Annunziata

In front of the Church, in Piazza SS Annunziata, there is a market with organic food, cotton, linens and objects from the Florentine workshops.

This is a nice opportunity to come and enjoy this beautiful square with the famous Brunelleschi Loggiato.

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