“Detourism”, the official Town of Venice Tourist communication Service Newsletter, today presents the traditional celebrations preceding Christmas in Venice! Enjoy your reading!
Winter holidays are coming and Venice ushers in the Christmas season with the celebrations for St. Nicholas’ Day and St. Lucy’s Day.
On 6 December, the island of Murano celebrates Saint Nicholas’ Day, here called San Nicolò, the 4th-century bishop of Myra, noted for his generosity. St. Nicholas is known to be the protector of children, but he is also the patron saint of Murano glassmakers and their ancient art.
On 6th December, after the 6 pm Holy Mass in the Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato and the blessing of the St. Nicholas’ bread, there will be the inauguration of the charity exhibition in honour of the patron saint. The exhibition is including the works of art made by Murano glass masters. All proceeds will help fundraise for the needs of the two parishes on the island.
Saint Nicholas’ primary relics are preserved in Bari (southeastern Italy), city of which he is the patron saint, whereas the rest of the saint’s bones are kept by the Venetians in the church of San Nicolò at the Venice Lido. Another Venice church dedicated to the saint who gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus or Father Christmas is the beautiful church of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, in the Dorsoduro district.
December 13 is the Feast of Saint Lucy, born around 283 in Syracuse. The relics of the saint have been kept in Venice for over 800 years, now they are in the Sanctuary dedicated to her. During the days of the feast, the sanctuary opens to faithful and visitors with celebrations, concerts and guided tours. The Sanctuary of Lucy is located in Cannaregio, not far from the Venice train station that took the name of St. Lucy. Actually, it was here that was erected the church where Lucy’s body had been placed until the mid-nineteenth century; this old church was later demolished to make way for the train station. There is a paint by Francesco Guardi that shows us how the church looked like before its demolition. Today, in the square in front of the station, you can see a plaque set in the pavement, which recalls the exact site where the church once was.
The night between 12 and 13 December is a much-awaited night for children in some northern Italian cities. According to tradition, Saint Lucy with its donkey visits in the night to bring children sweets and gifts.
An old Venetian saying reads: Saint Lucia, the longest night of the year. Before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the Saint Lucy’s Day coincided with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
[source: La newsletter di Venezia n. 49/2019 del 05.12.2019]
[picture: Ewald Ehtreiber, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
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