No, Christmas isn’t over here yet. In Venice, we celebrate Christmas differently to this day. Venice hasn’t forgotten her ancient roots, so the second Christmas celebration, also called La Festa della Befana, takes place on 6 January. And by now, you also know that on 26 December, the Doge used to visit the place where reliquaries of the martyr Santo Stefano have found their home. This is the church and monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, and the Doge used to bring a presepio with him. This tradition was taken up, and for a couple of years, also in 2018, a “human presepio” has arrived on board the trabaccolo boat, as you can see below.
So as we are on our way preparing to celebrate Christmas, Venetian Style on 6 January, and the New Year (since 1798. Before, Venice celebrated the New Year on 1 March), and we are bringing to you one short & sweet post a day. Call this the Essenza di Natale blog post series, in which we share recipes, impressions, and many photos of Christmas and the New Year. And yes, this year we must include a few thoughts, and a message from the co-founder of La Venessiana blog, Teresa Loredan (Lina).
Normally, I publish a Venice Wishlist at the beginning of a new year. As Venice has been in the negative news throughout 2018, I won’t do it this time: When you type “Venezia” or “Venice” into your internet search engine these days, you get links to news such as arriva il ticket per l’ingresso a Venezia, Venetian residents outraged over trash, outcry in Venice, Venice natives ???? vanish, disappointing photos show what Venice looks like in real, floods in Venice are getting worse, the Rialto Market is dying, etc.). There’s much truth in these news, and we must resolve these issues!
Still, when you have seen negative news on our city pop up without respite, not even for Christmas, on the internet for the last three years, and almost never any (tiny) piece of good news (but there is, and progress as well, even though on a small scale), let me tell you that by now, it hurts and discourages those Venetians really working behind the scenes, under the radar so to say, taking care of the city every day. Sorry for this sfogo (= outcry), which I’m publishing on behalf of grandmother, and a group of Venetian friends who are not on social media.
So.. for the New Year, can we report a few, tiny positive news about this city as well? Like the Christmas traditions, or artisans, or new shops opening in town (yes, there are!!!). Taking up a forgotten recipe and reintroducing it in the Venetian bakeries (yes, there is!!). And these people, living and working in and for Venice, are just pioneers of those that may well propel Venice towards a sustainable solution. Venice, a post-modern city harnessing the strengths of her heritage (more about that soon).
On La Venessiana, we’d like to show more sides of Venice, those many, tiny, steps towards progress on a small-scale, while of course, I’m repeating, never ever overlooking the serious issues that Venice has and that endanger her very existence. But – we need a bit of positivity around here, or else it is killing Venice before her time, as Lina says, così fate che Venezia muore prima. Words, especially repeated all the time, can be very powerful.
So on our blog La Venessiana, we’ll be sharing these other aspects on Venice, not just now but in 2019. Small steps on the surface, but very substantial ones, if you care to look beyond.
We’ll start Essenza di Natale – The Venetian Christmas and New Year, tomorrow. For now, here are a few impressions from Venice in late December.