Carnival in Venice
Il Carnevale - Fascination of the Masks - A very special, unforgettable Experience
Carnival was mentioned for the first time in the year 1094. After a long winter, the entry of the spring time should be celebrated and petitions to the gods are made for fortune, fertility and sun. The name "Carnival" comes from the latin words "carne vale" and literally means "Good-bye meat". This denomination was originated in the christendom and meant the last meat meal before the period of fasting. The denomination "Carnival" was finally taken over for all carnival festivities before the beginning of the period of fasting.
In medieval times, "Il Carnevale" was the only time when there were no class differences and everybody, no matter if rich or poor, could behave permissive and respectless. The costumes were originated by the traditions that went back up to the Roman times. In the year 1797, the Venetian carnival ended and therewith also the pompous processions of the Venetians with the break-up of the Republic of Venice.
Not until the year 1979, the Venetian carnival was revived by some artists. Thereby, people mainly focussed on the 18th century. Every year at 12 'o clock sharp on sunday - ten days before the beginning of the fastening period - the carnival festivities are officially declared. A symbol of former times is a huge pigeon of paper-mâché, that is, according to the tradition of Campanile, pulled to the Doge's Palace. Colourful balloons ascend to the sky; colourful confetti rains on the wondering crowd that today consists mainly on tourists.
Every day, up to 125.000 people push over the plazas and the narrow alleyways of the city, so that unfortunately, there is not much left from the original character of the carnival. Behind numerous masks carnival tourists are hidden who have invested a lot in laborious masks and costumes. Many inhabitants escape from this bustle to the mainland or have fun in the "underground" in private balls, but there are still numerous Venetians who take part on this vivid goings.
Although there is not much left from the original character, the carnival of Venice has specially to us foreigners a huge attraction - it is so different from the "common" fasching of our country. There is no loud "Allaf, Hellau" (german carnival-exclamations)combined with german pop music and vulgar carnival clothes. The "Il Carnevale" is calmed and induces the visitor to promenade over the plazas and through the narrow alleyways in order to gaze and to discover some new, coloured and laborious masks and costumes.
There is barely another place where the senses are so infatuated! An undescribable variety of elegance, beauty and imaginativeness with a romantic coulisse in the background. Even the pets wear a mask! For the visitors, the special attraction consists in continuously discovering new costumes and masks and to photograph them. The special thing is that as a matter of course, the "mask" postures and gracefully waits until the visitor has made his souvenir-picture. An indescribable experience that, thanks to the successful pictures and the unique atmosphere, will not be forgotten in a lifetime. Each year, Il carnevale ends on carnival tuesday with some massive fireworks.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz