Paper Lantern Festival of Florence – “Festa della Rificolona” takes place every year in the evening of September 7th as an integrally part of the celebrations of Jesus mother Maria’s birthday (Nativita’ della Beata Vergine Maria) on September 8th according to the catholic church.
The celebrations preserve a tradition from the 12th century where the peasants and the nearby residents reach Florence to celebrate the Virgin birthday and pray in Basilica della Santissima Annunziata.
According to tradition, the peasants brought agricultural products gifts dedicated to Virgin Maria. They left their villages when it was still dark so they lightened the way with paper lanterns carried on long sticks. On the base of this tradition, an impressive great agriculture products market is held, on the basilica square on the 6th and 7th of September.
On September 7th evening a festive lanterns parade takes place with the cardinal marching in the front. Due to the numerous visitors during the festival days and the high demand for accommodations it is recommended to check hotel rates and book rooms well in advance.
The festive crowd walk in a folk parade with music and songs, plenty of colorful lanterns that light the night are carried by children, all of these promise a traditional folklore unique experience.