The Sensa (Ascension Day) Festival also known as Festa della Sensa is celebrated by Venice on the day of Christ’s Ascension (40 days after Easter). Sensa is the Venetian dialect word for ascension. It commemorates two important events in the life of the city: one on 9 May in the year 1000, when Doge Pietro Orseolo II came to the rescue of the inhabitants of Dalmatia, who were under the Slav menace. The second event took place in 1177, when, in the reign of Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Pope Alexander III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa signed the peace treaty in Venice that put an end to the century-long diatribe between the Papacy and the Empire. The rite of the Wedding with the Sea used to take place on the occasion of the Ascension Day Festival. Every year on that day the Doge on his state barge, the Bucintoro, sailed to Sant’Elena, at the level of San Pietro di Castello Church. The Bishop waited to bless him on a boat with gilt sides. To emphasise the Serenissima Republic’s dominion over the sea, the Festival culminated with a kind of propitiatory rite: the Doge sailed to the channel between the lagoon and the sea and threw a gold ring into the water.
Thanks to the Comitato Festa della Sensa, Venice began to celebrate Ascension Day again in 1965, with a programme that goes far beyond mere re-evocation: the Gemellaggio Adriatico (“Adriatic twinning”) project now links the Serenissima Republic with a city or a geographic area that has had a special historical relationship with Venice, joined in a bond of culture, love of the sea and the activities connected with the sea. In 2010 the ring that is its symbol has been given to the City of Larnaca (Cyprus). In addition to this, the Festival is the occasion for the award of the “Premio Osella d’Oro della Sensa”, which is given to public bodies, institutions and private citizens that have given lustre to the city by means of their activities in the spheres of culture, crafts and trade.
This historical festival is held from May 19 to May 20, 2012 in Venice, Italy and is suitable for all ages.
For more information, please visit http://www.veneziamarketingeventi.it/it/page/eventoDettaglio?idEvento=242
Part of the today commemoration will be the Doge’s procession in San Marco Square, the Sensa Market at the Church of San Nicolò on Lido, Venetian style rowing races, a water parade by the local rowing clubs, the Fort of Sant’Andrea Festival and many other events that confirm that the Sensa today is a great time for meeting and fully realising the value of Venetian history and traditions: it is the festival of the city itself and its relationship with the sea.
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