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March 25, 2021

Florentine New Year. What it is and why it is celebrated on March 25

Our city has its own beginning of the year, which falls far from the conventional one: we reveal its origins

Many people do not know that on March 25 the city of Florence celebrates the "Florentine New Year". The City has included this date in the annual calendar of popular festivals and traditions and official celebrations.

From the Middle Ages until 1750 in fact this was the day on which the Church remembered the announcement of the Incarnation received by the Virgin Mary and was taken as the beginning of the civil calendar.

In the Tuscan capital this was the date on which the New Year was celebrated, even when in the rest of Italy was already in force the Gregorian calendar, according to which the year began on January 1.

While the states conformed to this religious dictate, Florence, linked to the Marian cult, decided not to abandon the feast of March 25. This recurrence for the Florentines will last for 168 years and will cease in the month of November 1750, when a decree of Grand Duke Francis II of Lorraine imposed the use of the Gregorian calendar, fixing also for Florence the beginning of the year on January 1 (under the Loggia dei Lanzi there is the plaque that recalls the decree of the suppression of the festival).

A celebration that has symbolically survived until today and that also unites us with some of our "neighbors". About a hundred kilometers away, under the Leaning Tower, the Pisan New Year is celebrated on the same day (but 365 days earlier).

Nowadays, this ancient New Year's Eve remains the oldest tradition, officially revived by the Municipality of Florence since 2000 with the parade of the historical procession of the Florentine Republic from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa to Santissima Annunziata, the main Marian shrine of the city.

The symbol of the festival is in fact the fresco depicting the Annunciation, kept inside the basilica, where once the peasants went on pilgrimage to pay homage to the effigy of the Annunciation, on which there is a legend.

The work would be miraculous: it is said that the painter, a certain friar Bartolomeo, could not complete the scene because he was not able to portray the features of the Madonna's face. To finish the masterpiece - always according to the myth - would have been a prodigious hand, that of the angels.

This year the procession will be done, but without spectators, it will be seen live on television. The visits, accompanied by experts, will take place from 10am to 4pm in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata.


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