InVenicein 1094 Doge Vitale Falier was in power. In this period the first edition of theCarnival of Venice began unconsciously, as a public celebration to honor the days preceding Lent. Everything is reported in an official document so that the tradition could be followed. But it took long time before theVenice Carnival became a proper festival, ending the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Once theCarnivalbegan the first Sunday of October, grew with Epiphany and ended with a grand celebration in the day preceding Lent (Shrove Tuesday); its atmospherewas different as thefestivalwas much longer and more intense.
Nowadays the Carnival lasts about ten days, still in the pre-Easter period but the expectation and excitement forCarnivalis always present throughout the year.
Carnivalat that time was an opportunity to break down all social differences and get everyone on the same level, it was the time to forget life problems and frustrations enjoying this popular festival altogether.
The mask was a symbol of the game but also of equality: as people could hide behind it all their shame.Wearingmasks and costumespeople could completely hide their identity therefore eliminating all forms of personnel belonging to social class, gender, religion.
Anyone could become what he wanted, he could have attitudes and behaviors according to his custom and to his changed appearance. For this reason, it was customary to greet themaskswith a “Hello madame mask”!
The Essence of Carnival
The joyful participation in disguise was and still is, the Carnival essence.A period of light-heartedness and freedom from the daily routine and from the prejudices and slanders.
It was all part of a masked big stage, where actors and spectators were merged intoa unique and immense procession of figures and colors. The custom of dressing up was becoming more and more popular inVenice, so a real trade in masks and costumes grew from nothing to a profitable business..
There weremany parties with tumblers, jugglers and acrobats. The tributes to the protagonists ofVenetian historywere great, especially to Marco Polo, theCarnivaltook every opportunity to remind his journeys.
The Venetian Carnival Nowadays
The Carnival in Venicehas accompanied every moment of history: in the nineteenth centuryVenice and its Carnivalbecome adestination for artists and celebrities from around the world.
After the fall of theVenice Republic Carnivalunderwent a sharp break due to the French and Austrian domination. In this sadperiod the Carnivalcontinued only in the island of Burano and Murano, home toVenetian artists. Carnivalresurrected in 1979 when a group of citizens from civic associations helped to create the new edition of theVenice Carnival, a festival lasting eleven days,full of joy and happinessto celebrate this anniversary, so dear to the Venetian people.
DuringCarnival, the innate nature of the Venetian merchants is overshadowed,fun, jokes, masks and party atmosphereof lightheartedness and invades the city in a festive general atmosphere that you can feel, see and touch throughout the city.