Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Festa Del Bòcolo In Venice: Legend and Tradition

by Andira Vitale

The red rose bud that is used to give to women on April 25, St. Mark’s Day. But why?

Vita gazette – April 25, Independence Day celebra with enthusiasm in all Italian cities, even in the towns. One of them is different. Because the celebrations of the Liberation mixed with the Feast of San Marco on April 25, dedicated to the protector of the city. Bòcolo, that is the tradition of men who give red roses to women every 25 April, and celebrated with double parties, the celebrations are filled with love and hope like life…

Bòcolo is a tradition full of love and hope. It is that of the Bòcolo di San Marco, which features Venetian husbands and boyfriends who, on the day of the patron saint of Venice, offer a red rose bud to their loved ones as a sign of love. This woman can be a mother, spouse, brother, neighbor, or colleague. In fact, at the root of this tradition there is a tragic love story.

The Bócoło tradition dates back to the 8th century AD. and sees as protagonist Maria known as Vulcania, daughter of Doge Angelo Partecipazio, who fell in love with a young troubadour named Tancredi. A reciprocated love, were it not for the young woman’s father to try in every way to oppose it, but it couldn’t. Because Tancredi had thorns in the “social class gap” that were stunging Mary’s father …

Trying to persuade her father, Maria woke up one day with hope like a rose blooming every morning. She had found a way to make Tancredi precious in the eyes of her father. Maria’s idea was then to ask Tancredi to leave with the army of the Franks commanded by Charlemagne to fight the Arabs in Spain; he would thus have achieved fame and glory and the Doge would have consented to their marriage. And Tancredi did so and distinguished himself for valour on the battlefield and his fame soon spread throughout Europe, even reaching Venice for the happiness of Maria.

But on 15 August 778, he was fatally wounded in the battle of Roncesvalles. As he was dying in a rose bush, he plucked a rose for the woman he loved, covering his blood. Before dying, Tancredi asked his friend Orlando to bring Maria the red rosebud he had collected. These were his last words.

One day Orlando arrived in Venice and announced to Maria the death of Tancredi on the battlefield. However, having fallen dying on a rose bush, he had the strength to collect a rose soaked in his blood and asked to have it delivered to the woman he loved. The young woman, having received the flower, clung to silence for the death of Tancredi and the end of his love. The following day she was found dead with the rose in her hands; it was St. Mark’s day.

But today, in reality, the Venetian tradition of the Bòcolo is not a tribute to the beloved, but a tribute to women, to all women, to the feminine element itself, which brings joy and life and beauty and passion into everyone’s life. But in Venice on April 25 it is practically obligatory to offer Bòcolo to lovers, spouses, and girlfriends. Men who don’t give roses to the women they love can be a problem! In short, no woman should be left without a Bòcolo on St. Mark’s Day. Including women who stay in health resorts … Because this is a Venetian tradition…

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