The Venice Carnival is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. It started in the year 1162, after the Republic of Venice won against the Patriarch of Aquileia, and so people started to celebrate by dancing and gathering in the San Marco Square in honour of this victory. This year, it started on the 16th February, and will end on the 5th March 2019. The Carnival ends with the celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday.
The crucial part of the festival is the masks. They can be made of leather, porcelain or using the original glass technique. The original masks were simple in design, decoration and had a very symbolic and practical function, but nowadays they became really expensive because they are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf, and are hand-painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate. There were different types of masks that depended on occupations that people had.
Perhaps the use of wearing a mask to cover the face in public was a Venetian response to one of the most rigid class hierarchies in Europe history. During the Carnival, the laws were suspended and people could dress as they liked, instead of according to the rules that were set down in law for their social class and profession. This is why even today lots of people are drawn to visit this beautiful city – it isn’t only to see a romantic destination, but to live through a magical experience of the Carnival.
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