Sunday, February 12, 2012

Carnevale di Venezia 2012!

It's Carnevale time in Venice! Everyone has heard of Carnevale di Venezia, but it is extra special to me because my last name is Carnevale. The word Carnevale means "farewell to meat" or "meat is gone." The Catholic Lent obligated people to fast during the period up to Ash Wednesday. All meats, butter and eggs had to be used up, so this religious formality gave Venetians a good excuse to have one heck of a party. Carnevale starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday — day before Ash Wednesday — also known as Mardi Gras. The international carnival is also one of the oldest, dating back to 1268, when the use of masks were first documented. The masks were used to shield the identity and social status of the wearer, so no differentiation could be made between the commoners and the nobility. They all mingled together, visiting brothels, theaters, cafes and wine shops. Or they could gamble, see exotic animals, rope walkers or jugglers. I hope to go Carnevale di Venezia one year — I hear it's a good time. Eat drink and be merry!

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