Venice & Carnival,a single soul, a single idea …undivided
Carnivals are celebrated around the world in hundreds of cities, ranging from celebrations that attract just the odd few tourists to those that attract hundreds of thousands of spectators. Many of the larger ones are internationally renowned, such as the Rio Carnival in Brazil, though in Europe one of the most popular Carnivals is celebrated in beautiful Venice, Italy.The Carnevale di Venezia is an annual event that is steeped in history, dating back to the 1200’s and earlier. Although it has not taken place every year since it first began, it has been an annual occurrence since its revival in 1979.
Carnival’s roots delve into many traditions, from the Latin Saturnalia celebrations to the Greek Dionysos cults, which marked the transition from winter to spring and which used to resort to masks and other symbolical representations.Carnival was particularly long. It normally began on December 26 and ended on Ash Wednesday, but often permission was granted to use masks beginning from October 1, and it was not unusual to hold parties and banquets even well into Lent.In brief, Carnival lasted several months, and this has certainly contributed to the creation of the image of Venice as a city given to enjoyment.
THE ART OF MASCARERI (MASK-MAKERS) AND TARGHERI (PAPIER MACHE SHIELDS) Their statutes (mariegola) are kept at the Venice Archivio di Stato, showing they were thus grouped together withi this specialization from 1463 to 1620. Then they joined the Miniatori, designers, gilders e paper-makers (makers of playing cards)
Like Carnivals around the world the specific dates for the Carnival of Venice are dictated by Easter and so they vary somewhat from year to year. You can work out the dates for future years by knowing that the Venice Carnival begins two Fridays before the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday! Confused?! Basically it starts on a Saturday then runs for one and a half weeks until ending on Mardi Gras Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. For 2011, this means the Venice Carnival will happen from the 26th of February to the 8th of MarchThe whole of Venice becomes a platform for the Carnival with different events happening here and there. St Mark’s Square is usually the hub, but during the nearly 2 weeks of celebrations you’ll find people wearing masks all over the city.