Born in Italy, Carnevale is one of the world’s most celebrated events, especially in Venice and Viareggio. But every town, even the smallest, has it’s own parade, feasts of local specialities, dancing, masquerading and fun before the Lent season begins.
Some experts claim the term Carnevale comes from the Latin “carne, vale” meaning “taking away meat” associated with the day Lent begins (Ash Wednesday).
Carnevale origins can be traced to primitive celebrations 12 thousand years ago to honor the coming of Spring, or a period of transition. The costumes and masks were introduced during the early Renaissance by both the masquerade ball introduced by pope Paul II in the 15th century and the human stereotypes (greed, vanity, cunning) brought tostage in the “Commedia dell’Arte”, home to the characters of Arlecchino, Pantalone, and Pulcinella.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the creation and production of masks as a trade, sold in not only for celebrations, but for instruments of seduction by courtisans and wanto-to-be’s alike, often masking the wearer’s true intentions as well as their recognizable countenances.
In the South of Italy, one of the most famous celebrations in Putignaro was born in 1394. The Farinella mask and character was created in the 1950’s.
In 2021 the Traditional Carnevale in Venice is moved online, offering the celebration to an international audience. With the hope the Covid 19 situation improves, Viareggio aims for a September and/or October showcase event.