Carnival is a holiday celebrated in Catholic Countries which occurs immediately before Lent. It's a joyful festivity full of jokes, parades, colorful costumes, masks, games. The main part of it is of course the masquerade.
It's funny how the word Carnevale comes from the latin "carnem levare", which means "to remove the meat" because it was the last big meal before Lent.
The biggest and most famous Italian Carnival is the one in Venice. It's a gorgeous show of colorful and beautifully crafted masks and garments. But everyone, especially kids, want to dress up at Carnival because it's just so fun! It's tradition also to throw confetti and stelle filanti, and make pranks and jokes to others because, as we say: "A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale!" (= at Carnival every joke is allowed)
Carnival is related also to our "Commedia dell'arte", a form of theatre characterized by masked "types" which began in Italy in the 16th century. Each italian region had its own character:
- Arlecchino is an infidel servant from Bergamo and wears a colorful checkered suit.
- Colmbina is Arlecchino's partner.
- Balanzone is a serious and presumptious character from Bologna.
- Gianduja is originally from Torino. From his name come the names of the gianduia chocolate and the Gianduiotto.
- Pulcinella is maybe the most popular character, from Naples.
- Pantalone on is a famous Venice's character.
The other good side of Carnival is the yummy things you eat! :D
They're usually sweets, like for example...