San Martin’s day, the favorite tradition of Venice’s children

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Venice's Saint Martin Festival in a nutshell

San Martino, the 11th of November, is a day dear to the Venetians, and especially to the youngest ones who can be found walking around the city in groups, singing, hitting pots and pans to celebrate the saint.

This important festival in Venice has a long tradition.The cult goes back to the VIII century, the time when the church of Saint Martin was founded in Castello, perhaps by refugees from the city of Ravenna, known for their devotion to the saint.

San Martino celebrated by children in Venice.

How is Saint Martin celebrated?

It is said that the celebration of St Martin was first more of an adult thing where eating and drinking seasonal products, such as wine and chestnuts, was customary. It then evolved to be more of a kids business, during which the little ones were going around asking for treats. In many aspects, it can remind us of the more known festival Halloween, but with few differences: the kids sing a traditional song, beat pots and pans with wooden spoons, wear paper crowns, and instead of knocking at the door of anybody, they specifically count on the generosity of shop-owners.

San Martin today

Unfortunately, it is a tradition which is disappearing, even though nowadays on 11th of November, you can still meet children around Venice, out with their mum and friends, all making a lot of noise and hoping to get some candies and money, which they ask for, singing this traditional Venetian song:

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“San martin ze ‘ndà in sofita
par trovar la so novissa
la so novissa no ghe gera
San Martin col culo par tera.
E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin
Su ‘sta casa ghe ze do putele
tute risse e tute bele
col viseto delicato
suo papà ghe lo gà stampato.
E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.
Siora Cate ze tanto bela
in mezo ‘l peto la ga ‘na stela
se no la gavesse meritada
so papà no ghe la gavaria dada.
E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.
Siora lussia la fassa presto
ch’el caligo ne vien adosso
el ne vien adosso sul scarselin
siora Lussia ze Sa Martin.
E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.”

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The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself.  Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.

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