The Venice Carnival


Italian students 2008-05-01

Venetian carnival.
Venetian carnival.

Performance begins… Joy, craziness and reason, all together. The music of Vivaldi, beautiful and mysterious masks... Every mask is made with the philosophy that are limitless to what can be created. Every mask hides enigma. Every mask keeps secret. Every mask fascinates imagination. What is hidden behind the mask?

The Venetian face masks are the most significant components of the carnival. Venice carnival masks fall into several categories:
-Commedia dell’Arte masks are based on traditional characters like Harlequin and Pierrot.
-Fantasy masks are figments of the masks makers imagination, althought they may be inspired by historical designs.
-Traditional Venetian masks such as the white volto half-mask with nose cover and its variants, the “plague doctor’s” mask with its phallic beak.
The carnival in Venice is said to have originated from an important victory of the “Repubblica della Serenissima” (as Venice was called at that time) in 1162. To celebrate this victory, dances and reunions started to take place in San Marco Square. This celebration started the day after Christmas and went on for several weeks. Carnival Tuesday was the culminating day when the most diverse undertakings by various guilds used to take place all over the town especially in San Marco Square, often with some historically justified origin that gave rise to the Venice Carnival tradition. The Venice Carnival is regarded as one of the most significant carnivals today.

Culminating moments


The other culminating moments include the water procession, with boats and masked rowers, which concludes with fireworks against the backdrop of the Cannaregio Canal, the flight of the dove which marks Carnival, and the final grand ball on Shrove Tuesday in St. Mark’s Square.

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