Carnivals in Italy.

The glory of Italian carnivals long crossed national borders. Every year is very important for the whole of Europe Viareggio Carnival, the Historical carnival of Ivrea, the Sicilian Carnival in Sciacca, the Carnival of Putignano, the oldest carnival of Verona attract millions of tourists to the country. The Venice film festival, probably the most famous in the list of Italian carnivals, delighting and entertaining luxurious celebrations, taking place in a sophisticated atmosphere, magnificent processions in fantastic costumes and wonderful masks, theatrical productions, music.

The first historical evidence about the conduct of the festivities in Venice dates back to the document of the Doge Vitale of Falier of 1094 year, it said on public entertainment and first mentioned the word Carnival. The official document recognizing the Venetian Carnival holiday, was the decree of the Senate of the Republic of 1296.

The organization of the Carnival in La Serenissima, with the permission of the Venetian oligarchies were dictated largely by the need. Inheriting the Roman policy of “Bread and Circuses”, the people in a certain period of time was allowed to surrender themselves to entertainment before advancing fast. Typically the Carnival was celebrated from 26 December until the beginning of Lent, however, since the eighteenth century it had begun to be celebrated in October, then he is suspended for a time from 15 to 26 December, to be resumed with even more hilarious revelry.

Costumes and masks that guaranteed anonymity, mixed all social strata, religious affiliation, gender. During the carnival greeting sounded just “Buongiorno lady of the Masker!” Undoubtedly, the custom of collective dressing is the very essence of the Carnival. People were exempt from the ordinary taboos, prejudices, rivalries and other unavoidable stamps everyday hustle and bustle to participate in exulting the holiday, was giving vent to repressed desires and instincts, becoming an organic part of the universal mummers world, in which there was neither old nor young, neither rich nor poor, neither noble or petty folk. Thus, Venice, Republic of rigid oligarchic rule, gave the humble sectors of the population the illusion of equality.

From time to time, the Senate issued decrees, trying to give carnival customs at least some decency, defining public order and morals of the citizens of the Republic. Although this was done more for reasons of public policy than for reasons of a moral nature. The authorities up to that time have not been able to avoid open violence and sacrilege, by contrast, welcomed the rampant instincts.

The danger to the public could occur due to the fact that under a wide cloak was easy to hide weapons or other offensive items. Many official laws were established and reaffirmed the absolute ban on the wearing of any item which could be unsafe to the public. Punishment for offences were strict, from significant fines to several years of hard labor.

With the year 1268 disguised revellers in masks were forbidden to throw eggs out the Windows. Taking satellites in the darkness, some were convinced that when the maximum opportunity to remain incognito, committed violence and looting. In February 1339, issued a decree banning night in the mask.

Other abuse, since it has become almost normal when dressed as women, or robes, or men entered into the Holy places, churches and monasteries, bestest nuns. A special decree of 44 January 1458 in Holy places entrance in masks was banned.

Maximum glitter Venetian Carnival reached in the eighteenth century, when it received international recognition, becoming the most prestigious in all of Europe. You can say that and not without the participation of Giacomo Casanova, the famous character of its era, is beautifully described complete sexual freedom that prevailed in Venice.

It is known that prostitution in the Republic of Venice flourished, the government encouraged this activity, given the fact that foreigners were in Venice continuously. According to the census 1509 in Venice worked 11.164 prostitutes. In addition to trade spices, salt and tissues, prostitution was a very important source of income for the Venetian economy, but at the same time was a source of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases.

With 1360 courtesans were supposed to happily ever after within the boundaries of the neighborhood, located near the zone of Rialto, the famous market and the bridge, near the Church of St. Matthew (now defunct), «Il Castelletto” or “Castelletto di Rialto”. The name of the brothel “Small Castle” was given, most likely due to the fact that it consisted of buildings, reminiscent of the tower. With time in Castelletto there were strict rules in respect of the rent, going to work, just after two in the morning and always with a yellow handkerchief.

An enchanting holiday with music and lots of dancing attracted to Venice not only people from all corners of the Republic, but also many foreign travelers. And prostitutes, hidden behind masks, during the carnival, could easily carry out their work outside established limits, to work, so to speak. For this reason, the authorities have been carefully adjusted prohibitions, the violation of which led to huge fines, eviction from the territory of the Republic for four years, and the pre-public punishment with a whip in the pillory in two columns on the Piazzetta).

With the proliferation of gaming houses and had a few episodes where players, using masks, losing, safely hiding from creditors. In 1703 an act was forbidden to appear in masks near such establishments. And in 1776, on the contrary, married women, to protect their honor, were urged to come to the theatre without a mask.

After the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, with the occupation of Napoleon and its inclusion in the Austrian Empire wonderful ancient traditions were interrupted. The Venetians considered inappropriate conduct of the Carnival, when their homeland was under foreign domination. Only the larger Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, Burano and Murano, the celebration of Carnival, represented only the passage discharged to the public through the main streets.But after the Austrians ears, in 1866, the carnival was not able to recover itself to its former grandeur and the scale. Only in 1979 the tradition of the Venetian Carnival was revived thanks to the initiative and commitment of some of the civic associations, the invaluable contribution of the Municipality of Venice, tourist organizations, Venetian Biennale, Teatro La Fenice.

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