Save the date: the Venetian Carnival is arriving
The traditional “Festa delle Marie”, which opens the Venice Carnival, evokes, in a modern way, the kidnapping and rescue of twelve brides, which took place at the time of the Venetian Doge, Pietro Candiano III. Since the beginning of the ninth century, it has been customary to celebrate all marriages in the church of San Pietro di Castello, the seat of the Episcopate of Olivolo, on February 2 every year – that is on the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary – in order to be collectively blessed .
On that occasion, twelve beautiful but humble Venetian young ladies were chosen and borrowed magnificent jewels by the State for their weddings, whereas some Venetian noble families contributed to their dowries with grants, which each girl carried to the church inside special works and finely decorated wooden boxes, called “arcelle” or “capselle”.
In 946 under the reign of Doge Pietro Candiano III, while a wedding ceremony was taking place in San Pietro’s, a group of Dalmatian pirates broke into the church and kidnapped the young ladies,stealing their precious boxes as well.
The Doge organized a pursuit to hunt down the pirates immediately and, leading the force himself, he caught up with the kidnappers near Caorle quickly, killing them all and rescuing the girls and their dowries. Since then, the area where that event took place has been known as the “port of the damsels”.
The “Flight of the Angel” is a traditional event that goes back to the Serenissima period where an unknown guest of Venice, flying along a rope from San Marco bell tower to the middle of the square, will offer a gift to the Doge and will be welcome by the crowded parterre of the costume parades of the Historical Recallings.
As a conclusion, the embrace of the Angel and the Doge will smooth the atmosphere of a square galvanized by scenographical effects, always appreciated by the Italian and international networks. The girl winner of the “Festa delle Marie” 2018 will be the Angel of the Carnival 2019.
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