mercoledì 23 marzo 2011

NIcholas Signorello Specials! March 25 Happy New Year, Florence?

March 25 Happy New Year, Florence?
by Nick Signoriello

Yes, Florence has two New Years: one celebrated on January 1 and the other celebrated on March 25, in accordance with Christian tradition.
This day is also known as the Feast of the Annunciation because it commemorates the day the Archangel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. For centuries, up until 1582, Europe’s New Year started on March 25.
Florentines on the other hand, had a different idea and weren’t ready to change their calendar in accordance with the modern Gregorian day calendar. Florentines did, and still do, have a special attachment to Mary as she is the protector of the city. They officially kept their New Years on March 25 for almost another 200 YEARS! In 1750, they finally gave in to the trend and changed their official New Year to January 1.
The Florentines’ passion for this celebration dates all the way back to the 1200s. Santissima Annunziata, also known as “The Most Holy Annunciation” is a basilica built buy Friars who hold the Virgin Mary in the highest regard, from the order of the Servi di Maria, in 1250 to honor this day. From then on, the March 25 New Year has been celebrated in Piazza Santissima Annunziata every year. Historically, the celebration in Piazza Santissima Annunziata has attracted people from all over Tuscany and even the rest of Italy into the city to take part in this important celebration. 
This festival is also a symbolic day for Florentines as the beginning of spring, and in my opinion there is no better way to kick of this season than by going to Piazza Annunziata on Friday to take part in the festivities. The piazza hosts a large mass, live music and a bustling market. Hope to see you there!

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