The meaning of Carnival in Christian culture coincides with the period preceding Lent, in fact the etymology of the word derives from the Latin expression carnem levare, which means to abstain from meat, just as it happens in the period before Easter.
The origins of Carnival date back to the Saturnalia festivals, during the winter solstice when famous masks such as Colombina and Pulcinella became famous.
In fact, these popular festivals celebrated in honor of the god Saturn embraced everyone, noble and poor, where the mask was the real protagonist that allowed the non-recognition of the person. Social hierarchies were being torn down and what mattered was having fun without limits.
These rites would have survived until the Middle Ages and the climax of the festival was reached with the burning of a puppet that represented the evils of the year just ended.
The other popular Italian masks were born in the seventeenth century, with the Commedia dell'Arte, such as Pantalone, Gianduja and Arlecchino, and each character has its own history and meaning.
Without a doubt, Carnival is the most playful and colorful festival of the year, during which "everything is allowed": jokes, games, fun, masks and costumes.
A period that for many cities and areas of the world has become a truly characteristic moment, full of rituals, celebrations, traditions, folklore, entertainment, just think of the Carnival of Venice or that of Rio, but also that of Viareggio.
Masks and costumes allow everyone, for a few days, to transform into someone else, whether this is a character of their dreams, a legendary character, or a fairy tale character.
Masking becomes fascinating and fun because by wearing a mask you get out of everyday life, you get rid of your social role for a day by becoming someone else: the most shy can become a hero, you can have magical powers or simply feel like queens and princesses.
This year, due to a pandemic, it will most likely be a very anomalous Carnival, without parades and allegorical floats.
But small parties will be organized for children in total safety, avoiding gatherings. You can still take advantage of the post-school walk to have some fun with confetti and streamers, trumpets and magic wands.
WHAT ARE THE DATES OF THE 2021 CARNIVAL?
Carnival begins on Shrove Thursday and ends five days later on Shrove Tuesday. Each year the dates are established based on when Lent and Easter fall: in fact, Shrove Tuesday must be the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which in the Roman liturgical rite inaugurates Lent. So in 2021 it starts on Thursday 11 February and ends on 16 February.
The Carvevale, in addition to the masks, also brings with it a culinary tradition that manifests itself in typical sweets such as: chiacchere, damselfish, pancakes, staples. These are sweets d i ffusi throughout the national territory.
It will be a thought much appreciated by young and old!