Why do Venetians give rosebuds to their loved ones today?

Today is the 25th of April and in Italy we celebrate both Liberation Day and, in Venice, the feast of Saint Mark. The latter is also called the rosebud festival, because traditionally men give a rosebud, bòcolo in the Venetian dialect, as a gift to the women they love.


Where does this tradition come from? It traces back to the 8th century and the story of Maria and Tancredi. Maria was the Doge’s daughter and she fell in love with a young man of low social standing, Tancredi. Unfortunately, Maria’s father opposed their love so, in order to win her father’s approval, she suggested Tancredi enlist in the army of Charle Magne. Tancredi became involved in the battle of Roncevaux Pass and was mortally wounded in battle, but managed to pluck a rose from a nearby rosebush. He asked his companion, Orlando, to give it to Maria, who received the blood-stained rose and was found dead in her bed the next day.




Header picture: https://catronvenice.com/2014/04/11/venezia-e-la-festa-del-bocolo/


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