The carnival season is a period of celebration and partying during the two weeks before the traditional Christian fasting of Lent. The term “carnevale” comes from Latin for “farewell to meat”, and suggests a good-bye party for the steaks and stews that Catholics traditionally gave up during the weeks of fasting before Easter. Carnival ends on “Mardi Gras” (French for “Fat Tuesday”), the day before Ash Wednesday when the fast begins. Carnival is celebrated all over the world, including Brazil, the Caribbean Islands, areas of the Southern United States such as New Orleans, and of course Venice.
Venice’s Carnival has existed in one form or another since the 11th century. Masks have made the Carnival unique, and people used them to hide who they were and what their social status was. That allowed them to have more fun!