VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis always asks for prayers, especially for his birthday, but this year he also got some tango.
Thousands of tango dancers, mostly from Italy, flocked to St. Peter’s Square to wave their white scarves “A Tango for Pope Francis” and cheer along with tens of thousands of other people at the Wednesday general audience.
Before the general audience, children gave him flowers, presents and handmade cards:
He got Mylar party balloons attached to cute babies:
But best of all had to be the birthday cake topped with cherries and six (?) candles, that he promptly blew out.
The cake came courtesy of a large group of seminarians, who also had the foresight to provide some mate’ too:
But an Italian tango dancer had a better idea, Cristina Camorani organized a “Street Tango Flashmob” over the Internet inviting people to what she hoped would become the “Biggest Milonga in the World.”
Milonga, an older form of tango with a faster rhythm, is the pope’s favorite dance style. He has said he used to dance the tango when he was young, adding, “It’s something that comes from within.”
At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis greeted the tango dancers and said it seemed like the square was “for a 2 x 4,” which is mysterious tango-lingo referring to rhythm.
After the audience, participants heeled up for a warm-up dance in front of St. Peter’s Square before the big showcase event that afternoon.