Cultural Note: The Venice Carnival

The Venice Carnival is internationally famous for its identity in preserving traditional Commedia dell’Arte Masks, such as Pantalone, Brighella, Harlequin, and others.

In general, the term “carnival” carne-levare derived from Latin “to take away the meat,” originally referring to the day before Lent when the use of meat ceased. Although its origin dates back to the 11th century, it reached its peak in the 18th century. Typically, the festival lasts several days, and it take s at least a year of preparation to create beautiful costumes. They are elaborated in fine fabrics, in a variety of colors and hues. The costumes and masks acquire originality as a result of the passion and creativity of the artisans. In addition to masks and costumes, participants wear veils, capes, wigs and hats of different shapes and colors.

The festivities are multifaceted and lavish. They are held in public parades, with papier-mâché floats. The Carnival is celebrated with dancing and masquerades. In addition to the parades, numerous theatrical performances and art exhibitions come to life. Mainly, the activities take place in St. Mark’s Square, and on the water.

The festival involves not only Venetians, but thousands of tourists. The Carnival is organized by the International Association for the Carnival of Venice.

The culinary specialties of the Venetian Carnival are varied. Some of the specialties include fritters, galani and castagnole.

Happy Carnival, Everyone!

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