Carnival of Venice…Equality and Spirituality
The Carnival in Venice was first recorded in 1296, when the Senate of the Republic issued an edict declaring the day before Lent as a public holiday. “Carnevale” from “carne” (meat) and “vale” (farewell), means “farewell to meat” and refers to the beginning of Lent, when Italians refrain from consuming meat until Easter. In many parts of the world, it is celebrated as “Mardi Gras” or “Fat Tuesday.”
Masks are the central feature of the Venetian carnival, and the maskmakers (mascherari) enjoy a special place in society.
The original masks were simple in design and had a symbolic and practical function. Most of them are hand-painted with gold leaf applied.
Masquerading is a shared practice among Venetians. Everyone is equal behind the masks. The average citizen,hidden behind the mask, regardless of social status, escapes the restrictions of Venetian society.
“Ogni scherzo vale” (anything goes at Carnevale), so the mask is well accepted.
For me, Carnivale symbolizes equality and spirituality…the equality of everyone behind the mask and the spirituality of the Holy Season to come.
Herein are some magnificent photos of Carnivale taken our friend and professional photographer, Stephen Brigidi. They are a good as any we have ever seen, and we are fortunate to have Conpalla in our collection.