People in a position of power must face the consequences if they don’t follow the rules. A city in Italy takes it to an extreme by locking the officials in a cage and throwing them into a river as a form of punishment. No one actually drowns; this public spectacle is meant to be more humiliating than dangerous.
This aquatic punishment stunt has been named “Tonca” and it is part of the yearly Vigilian celebrations hosted in Trento. The events are paid in tribute to Saint Vigilio, the patron saint of the city, and one of the events is the Court of Penitence where prominent people from Trento are thrown into a trial for the appropriate sentencing.
The lucky ones will be deemed innocent and escape a dip into the river.
Most of the caged sinners are politicians since the person who committed the most disgraceful act usually happens to be a politician. The leaders must be ready to cleanse themselves of ill deeds.
The Tonca occurs on the last Sunday before June 26. Last year, six people were found guilty and five of them were saved from having to take a dip in the River Adige.
The sinners do eventually make it out to the other side of the cage as there is an important modification to the traditional practices. Rather than leaving people to die in the water and only coming back for the cages, the crooks in this practice do see the sunrise. People are released out of the lock-ups shortly after, and no one is left to die in the river.
This festival is an entertaining sight for the spectators who can watch the drama unfold with a touch of historical elements.