Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Masked Celebration

I have been to Venice only once and was nowhere near the time for Carnevale, or as tomorrow is called Martedi Gasso. I remember wanting to come back one day to be part of these event as it is deeply rooted in the history of the city and its culture.

Carnevale dates back to the 1100's when the Republic of Venice was one of the most important in the world and became a center of art, culture and politics. Due to the growing fame of the event, many laws were issued in order to protect the participants and the city like forbidding the use of vulgar disguises or using the masks for other reason that Carnevale.

One of the most important events during the celebration is called "Il Volo dell'Angelo" or the "Flight of the Angel" which is done at the opening ceremony. Here a woman dressed in a period costume descend from the San Marco bell tower to salute the Doge {these days a person appointed for that role} to pay homage to him.

The celebrations last for about two and a half weeks {ending the day before Lent begins.. today!}, including the opening ceremony on the last Saturday of January, cultural events, art exhibits all over the city, and traditional events like parades down the Grand Canal and on the Lake. 

Masks and costumes are the best know symbols of Carnevale and one of the main attractions. There is no actual record of when people started to dress up, but it is believed that it was done to hide yourself from the strict class laws of the city as well as to enjoy the pleasures present in Venetian society {very naughty if you ask me!}.

Have a fun and go out to celebrate!