As you may know, this past Sunday was Pentecost and every year, the Pantheon holds a Pentecost mass. The exiting thing about this mass is that rose petals rain down through the oculus into the Pantheon. When described to me, I decided this was a must see and was extremely excited for Sunday to roll around. Sunday finally arrived and I was in a pretty good location surrounded by older Italian couples shouting at anyone who stood in front of us.
I had arrived at 11 and was anticipating the flowers to start dropping around 11:30. 11:30 came and went with no sign of mass ending or flowers dropping. 11:40 and then 11:50 rolled around as we continued to search for elbowroom and ways to stave off the heat. It was hot even for me and I’m from North Carolina and used to humidity. But this wasn’t just summer heat. We were packed in like sardines and the air was stagnant. It was hard even to breathe. Sadly, I am prone to passing out and getting light-headed so when the world started to sway, I decided it was time to leave, rose petals or not.
I pushed my way out of the crowd as it swarmed to fill my space. As always, my timing was impeccable and I escaped the masses just as the rose petals were being dropped. However, this proved to be a blessing in disguise because from the outside, I could see the firemen dropping the rose petals. They were gathered around the oculus dumping huge bags of rose petals for what seemed like forever. It all probably lasted five minutes or less, but they dropped a lot of flowers and I had plenty of time to worry that they had fallen through the oculus every time they disappeared behind the dome- thankfully this didn’t happen because they were all wearing harnesses. Although I was sad not to see the actual rose petals, it was exciting to see the behind the scenes.