The History behind the ``Festa delle Marie`` in Venice, Italy
Since the IX Century, every year on the 2nd day of February, the Serenissima blessed all the couples who were planning to get married within the year.
Not all couples, however, had the means to afford a wedding and the expenses required for building their own life, so the authorities soon decided that the wealthiest Venetian families should offer every year magnificent jewels, clothes and a rich bridal dowry to twelve beautiful but poor Venetian girls.
This celebration continued for centuries until it was abolished in 1379 after decades of ever-growing protests of the rich families fed up with the heavy expenses they had to face, and the exasperated rivalry amongst poor families desperate to have their daughters win the nomination.
Hundreds of people wearing historical costumes take part in the ``Festa delle Marie`` Parade
Nowadays, hundreds of people take part in the historical parade, wearing all kinds of historical costumes, and walking with the 12 elected Marie from the San Pietro Basilica to Saint Mark’s Square.
The “Marie” are selected amongst young women who live in the area of Venice, but only one will be elected as the “Maria 2017” on the last day of Carnival, Mardi Grass.
The winning Maria is entitled, amongst other things, to fly down the Saint Mark’s Bell Tower for the event called “Volo dell’Angelo” on the following Carnival… now that is some amazing award!!!
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