On the Feast of Pentecost – that is, today – there is a beautiful and ancient custom in Rome of dropping rose petals through the oculus of the Pantheon. The Pantheon, as you may know, is an almost 1,900-year-old structure with the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world that still survives to this day. Originally it was a pagan temple; in Christian times it became a Basilica and is also known under its dedication name of “Our Lady of the Martyrs”. At the center of the amazing, ancient dome is the oculus – the opening to the sky (yes, and when it rains, it rains inside the church, and there are little drain holes here and there in the floor).
On the Feast of Pentecost, the firemen of Rome have the honor of dropping fresh red rose petals through this opening, reenacting as it were the miracle of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit, represented by tongues of fire, descended upon Our Lady and the Disciples gathered in the upper room.
Here are some photos I took (with captions):
To see exterior views of the Pantheon and learn more about its history, read this Wikipedia article.