The Sea Wedding is proposed again in Cervia since 1445
Rite of the ring, rediscovery of traditions, food stands and events
The “Sea Wedding” is one of the oldest historical re-enactments in Italy, dating back to 1445, in which Cervia symbolically “joins” the sea that bathes it. It is one of the most heartfelt events by Cervia and its citizens. Now in its 577th edition, it never loses its charm, between the celebration of the ancient rite at sea and the challenge of ring fishing, where young people from Cervia compete for the “trophy” that promises luck and prosperity.
THE DAY BEFORE
Also not to be missed are the events preceding the day of the ceremony at sea; such as the Cursa di Batell, a historic regatta with boats armed to the third, or the Trofeo dell’anello, an archery competition. Furthermore, it is possible to visit exhibitions, shows and markets.
What is the Sea Wedding?
The Marriage of the Sea is the ritual that Cervia repeats every year to thank the Adriatic Sea for the rich gifts it has always offered it: the fruits of fishing, but also the salt that has made Cervia famous everywhere.
COURT IN VINTAGE COSTUME
On the afternoon of the Ascension day, the Bishop with his clergy leaves the church and meets in the square in front of the Mayor and various other authorities. The procession advances, accompanied by the musical band, towards the port. The Bishop with his clergy takes place in one boat, in another the civil authorities, while in the rest many spectators are already packed. Thus a procession of boats is formed which, after having crossed the entire canal of the port, between two wings of people crowded on the banks, ends up anchoring a little offshore.
RITE OF THE RING
The Bishop throws into the sea the ring in which the words are engraved inside: “Cervia Marriage of the sea, year …” after having pronounced the ritual words. Immediately vigorous swimmers dive in and shortly after the luckiest of them re-emerges with the ring that now belongs to him and will keep as a souvenir or as a wedding ring for when he gets married.
The story from which the rite is inspired sees the protagonist Pietro Barbo, Bishop of Cervia, who later became Pope Paul II, who on the day of the Ascension in 1445, returning from an embassy in Venice, was surprised at sea by a storm. The story tells that the Bishop calmed the waters, thus bringing the ship and crew to safety, after having thrown his ring into the sea. Even today Cervia relives its atmosphere, preserving the memory and traditions linked to it.
Lately the Bishop has added to the traditional words of the blessing also a propitiatory thought to the bathers and tour operators who will fill the beach and hotels and bathe in the waters of our sea. In 1986 the traditional ceremony had an exceptional protagonist: John Paul II who, to the ancient words of blessing, added new revolts, far away, across the sea to all men of good will who love peace and harmony.