Have you ever wished you could use someone else’s identity for a while or simply hide your own one, even if it was for just one night? Well, in Venice this need has always been taken seriously: when keeping the appearances was a question of decency, in certain occasions a mask was the only way to feel free.
Since time immemorial, men have always celebrated the beginning of Spring and also used dances and rituals during harvest festivals.
But in Venice, an historical event in the 12th century gave birth to the Carnival of Venice: it’s a story of a war against the Patriarch of Aquileia, a town along the coast, a war that the Venetians won. In exchange for his freedom, the Patriarch promised he would send to Venice, every year, in the week before Lent, 12 pigs that the Venetians would disguise as bishops: then everybody would tease the fake-patriarchs and have a big party to commemorate the victory; the whole town was involved with dancing, eating and drinking. The day before Lent, Mardi Gras, the poor animals were sacrificed and eaten and then no more meat (carne) for forty days: Carne-vale means “levare la carne” that is “to deprive of meat”.
That’s it! Carnival!
Though Carnival today has nothing to do with the extremely popular and sometimes wild festival of the Middle Ages, it’s still the funniest period of the year: find out more about the Carnival of Venice with Venice Kids Tours and book our Scavenger hunt in the mysterious world of masks.