Marriage of the Sea

Since 1445 Cervia celebrates the "Marriage of the Sea" also known as "Marriage of the Adriatic", an ancient rite in which the town is reunited to celebrate the sea that washes its coast.
The rite is inspired by a story somewhere between history and legend.
In 1445 on Ascension Day, Pietro Barbo, Bishop of Cervia who later became Pope Paul II, encountered a storm on the Adriatic Sea in his way back from the embassy of Venice. The story narrates that the Bishop handled the situation and succeeded in calming the waters and rescuing his crew by throwing his ring into the sea.
Since then, every year this city brings the past to life with a procession of boats that go through the sea along the canal of Cervia. Here the Bishop, in the presence of civil authorities and a large audience, pronounces the ritual words:

“Bless my Lord the Adriatic Sea, for us and all who sail thereon the sea may be calm and quiet... bless these waters, the boats sailing across them, the oarsmen, the helmsmen, the people, the goods...”

Over the last years the Bishop added also a propitiatory thought dedicated to swimmers and tour operators who work and swim in the Adriatic waters.
After the speech, a ring with the year and the name of the celebration engraved on it is thrown into the sea. Immediately the swimmers dive to search the ring and the fortunate one who finds it will ensure prosperity and good fortune for himself throughout the year.
Hence, the Marriage celebrates the sea which is urged to join, in a fraternal embrace, all the ethnic groups that face it and, with a bit of local rivalry, to offer a favorable season for Cervia and its inhabitants.
In addition to the function, other events take place in the surroundings including: the traditional gathering of armed historic boats from the 15 to 16 of May, which ends with the Cursa di Batell regatta, and the trophy for the ring.

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