It’s Raining… Rose Petals in the Pantheon?

Yes. You heard me right. It’s raining Rose Petals in the Pantheon. Or, at least it will be, on June 4, 2017 – which is the date on which Pentecost falls this year.

pantheon rose petals pentecost
The Pantheon’s open oculus is its only natural light source.

The Oculus. Hint: it’s not just a VR device.

If you are privy to some of the best Rome insider tips, you may have already been told to head for the Pantheon when it rains. Why? Because the gigantic, 27 foot (9m) wide oculus in the ceiling of its enormous, gravity defying dome is actually a giant, open hole through which the elements, birds, snow, hail, rain and… even yes, ROSE PETALS can fall through. So catching the spectacle of heavy rainfall during the daytime can be a pretty spectacular sight. But not as spectacular as the rain of rose petals at Pentecost.

It’s raining Rose Petals at the Pantheon

It’s you are lucky enough to find yourself in Rome for Pentecost, don’t miss this.  The Pentecost mass is held at the Pantheon (which, by the way, was born a pagan temple and later consecrated as a Roman Catholic church) at 10:30AM. The mass ends at noon, at which point a team of Roman firefighters will make their way up to the roof of the Pantheon and oculus, pouring sackfuls of red rose petals through the opening from where they will slowly flutter down, blanketing the floor of the Pantheon and mass-goers. The mass is free, but count on showing up early if you want to guarantee a spot.

Rose petals falling through the oculus at the Pantheon for Pentecost.

But why Rose Petals? Why for Pentecost?

The rose petals have a special religious significance for Pentecost. On this 50th day after Easter, the Pentecost celebrates the anniversary of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the 12 disciples after the ascension of Jesus. The rose petals are symbolic of the blood shed by Jesus Christ on earth for man. The act of letting the petals flutter down on the faithful is also symbolic of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the 12 apostles.

If you can’t make it…

If you can’t make it to Rome this year for Pentecost there’s always YouTube!


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