The Bòcolo legend at the St Mark's festival in VeniceLocal Traditions
The Bòcolo legend at the St Mark's festival in Venice
On the day of the festival for the patron of Venice, the Evangelist Mark, Venetians give a red rosebud, called bòcolo in the local Venetian dialect, as a gift to their spouse or girlfriend – a tradition they have been following for centuries.
The origins of this practice during St Mark's Feast in Venice are very old as they trace back to the beginning of the history of Venice.
The legend in fact says that in the second half of the 9th century, Maria, daughter of the Doge Orso 1st Partecipazio and also known as Vulcana due to her flaming red hair, was in love with a young man of humble origins, a certain Tancredi, who was returning her love. The Venice Doge would surely disapprove of their love, so the young maiden advised her loved one to join the fighting against the Muslims in order to obtain glory and be able to ask for her hand. The young man showed great courage in the war but was fatally wounded in a rose garden.
Before dying he handed his friend Orlando a bud tinted with the red of his blood and entrusted him to give it to his loved one as an extreme sign of his love. On 25th April, the day after she received from Orlando the message of her love, Maria was found dead in her bed with the rose bud on her chest.
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