2011 Ascension Festival. The enchantment of the city's marriage to the sea is back
05 June 2011
Undoubtedly one of the most characteristic festivals best defining the historic and specific culture of Venice, the Festa della Sensa (Ascension Day Festival) every year attracts thousands of visitors from the world over. This year the special re-enactment will take place on 5 June, 2011 and will plunge Venice into an all day long vortex of emotions and happiness.During the festival, tradition sees the characteristic celebration of the Wedding with the Sea, a ceremony held to bring prosperity from the most important element for Venice, during which a ring is cast into the sea from an official boat a celebration mixing secular and religious beliefs and that is still nowadays enacted, as one can expect, by the citys residents with great emotional participation.This practice dates back to 1177, when Pope Alexander 3rd took his ring off and, as an act of thanks giving for the signing of a peace treaty between the Doge Sebastiano Ziani and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, offered it to the Lord of Venice, at the same time calling for a wedding with the sea that the city of Venice had earned with its supremacy and conquests. From that day, every year the historic precession of authorities from the city, church and military travels on water from St Mark towards St Nicolas harbour entrance, where the rings is cast into the waves. Those owning a boat can join the parade and contribute to making this ceremony even more colourful and vibrant.Accompanying the celebrations there will be many entertaining opportunities: the Doges precession in St Marks Square, the Sensa Market at the Church of San Nicol on Lido, Venetial style rowing races, a water parade by the local rowing clubs, the Fort of Sant'Andrea Festival and many other events. All this will keep the Ascension Festival going from dawn to dusk in the fantastic atmosphere of friendship, happiness and warmth that all historic traditions of Venice have always instilled in those visiting Venice.