At the mention of the carnival, most people immediately remember about Brazil, its colorful procession with unrestrained merriment and wild dances, half-naked beauties dancing samba, as well as an atmosphere of universal rejoicing and happiness. However, the carnival itself did not appear at all in Brazil, but in Venice, as a democratic holiday, when everyone puts on masks and becomes equal.
Venice Carnival, as well as the Brazilian one, is full of a sense of celebration and happiness, unstoppable joy. At this time, the atmosphere of goodness and magic is felt in the city. This carnival seems to wind up time several centuries ago, on the New Year's ball of the 17th and 18th centuries. Everywhere are seen elegant girls whirling in dance, and gallant cavaliers walk around the streets. Because of the amazing costumes that are so unusual for a modern person, the whole city envelops something mystical, which makes even the most avid realists believe in a miracle and look forward to something fabulous that is about to happen.
Initially, the carnival appeared as a pagan festival dedicated to the god Saturn and the solemn harvest. However, the further development of culture and Christianity turned this holiday into a walk before the Great Lent. Hence, in fact, the word “carnival” itself arose, actually meaning “goodbye, meat!” (Carne-vale).
The first mention of the carnival dates back to 1094 year. Since then, the carnival is the most striking event in the culture of Venice. With the development of culture in the 19th century, the carnival became a “trick” of Venice and attracted a huge number of people who want to look at it. However, at some point, in the same 19th century, Venice itself rejected the carnival. Only at the end of the last century, the Venetian carnival began to revive.
Since the carnival makes all people absolutely equal, a necessary condition is the presence of a mask. Yes, hiding faces under the mask could have a variety of consequences, but, nevertheless, this tradition has been fully preserved since ancient times. The modern carnival, as a cultural heritage of many centuries, is a real repository of Venice traditions.
Today's Venetian carnival is freedom, music, theater, costume balls, fashion shows of traditional costumes and masks.
Masks, as a symbol erasing all social boundaries, were forbidden to be worn in non-carnival days. They are divided into two main types. Masks from the Comedy of Masks, made in the images of Pierrot, Harlequin, Brigella and other characters. The other kind of masks does not have a specific prototype. Formed such masks throughout the history of the carnival, they are a reflection of the culture and traditions of Venice. The most famous are: Bautta, Doctor of the Plague and the Venetian Lady.
Making a mask is a laborious task. First, the master of a special type of plaster creates the foundation, that is, the mask itself. Then he dries it. And after drying, it proceeds to decorate and color the mask. The last stage is the most painstaking, as it is manual work and requires special skills. For decoration, birds' feathers, precious stones, and even gold leaf are used.