The ship of St. Peter – an ancient tradition

The boat of St. Peter is a popular Venetian tradition which consists in the custom of placing outside the window, on the night between 28 and 29 June, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a glass container filled up to half with water in which egg white is poured. The container must be left in the open air overnight to absorb the dew. The following morning the albumen will have taken the shape of St. Peter’s boat. Depending on the shape the ship takes, it promises to be good or bad weather and consequently, good or bad harvest. If the boat has open sails, then sunny days are expected, if they are closed and narrow it indicates rain coming. In general, a beautiful sailing ship with many open sails promises an excellent harvest year.

The legend

“St. Peter’s mother ended up in hell because of certain sins. Everyone then mocked the saint because, despite having the keys to heaven, he had not saved his mother’s soul. St Peter, mortified, presented his case to the Lord who allowed him to get the poor woman out of the pains of hell. However, when throngs of angels and archangels arrived to get her out of her, all the condemned who were in hell with her clung to her clothes in order to go to heaven together. But the old mother was also tearing off her clothes because she only wanted the glory of heaven for herself. Given this lack of love for others, St. Peter resigned himself to leaving her where she was. All the storms close to the feast of St. Peter (29 June) are caused by the souls of the damned who, falling back into hell, send flashes of fire and terrifying thunder to earth. And the darker clouds are nothing more than the clothes of the selfish old woman “


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