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Keeping a Promise

Keeping a Promise
July 8, 2000

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Rudy: "On the banks of the canals in Venice, Italy, locals are getting ready for the Festa Del Redentore, the Feast of the Redeemer. Every year, on the third weekend of July, the city holds a huge regatta. It starts with fireworks on Saturday night, and concludes with a 400-year-old obligation on Sunday. Here to tell us about it is Michelle Kholos. She's here with this week's culture watch. Hi Michelle."

Michelle: "Hi Rudy."

Rudy: "Now, Michelle, I thought Venice's big event was the February Carnival. I mean, Venice has a regatta, geez, it seems like once a month."

Michelle: "Well, you're right, but the Redentore Regatta is definitely the biggest, and it's also the most significant. It's held every year, like you said, on the third weekend in July, for one specific reason: a citywide promise made back in 1576."

Rudy: "That's keeping your word!"

Michelle: "Well, it was a pretty big promise. See, back in the 1570s, Venetians were going through a pretty awful time. In 1576, a horrible plague struck the city. So, their leaders decided to build a temple and dedicate it to Jesus to redeem them. They also promised to hold a yearly festival there. All God had to do was heal the city."

Rudy: "Oh, sort of a give and take."

Michelle: "I guess so."

Rudy: "Did it work?"

Michelle:: "Well, 400 years later Venice is still there and the festival is still happening. Next weekend in fact. Hundreds of boats will fill the canals around Giudecca island, where they built that temple. So many, in fact, that they'll make a 'boat-bridge' out to the island. You'll be able to walk on water, right up to the temple doors."

Rudy: "And there'll be those fireworks I mentioned earlier..."

Michelle: "...and food, music, pretty much what you'd expect in Italy."

Rudy: "Kind of like Carnival in July."

Michelle: "Yeah, if you can't wait another seven months, here's something to tide you over. And that's this week's culture watch."


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