The Costumes of the Venetian Carnival

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The Venetian Carnival, (Carnevale di Venezia in Italian) is a period of ‘letting-go’ right before Lent in the Catholic Calendar.  Those living in the U.S. may be familiar with Mardi Gras, the final period in the American version of Carnival.  The holiday is celebrated in Venice by the wearing of masks and elaborate costumes, some of the most splendid ever created.

The first documented mention of the Venetian Carnival was in 1268, although the holiday is undoubtedly older than this.  Throughout its history the holiday often prompted irate Venetian lawmakers to ban the wearing of masks and make attempts to suppress the riotous behavior of the celebrants, but to little avail.  After reaching its peak in the 1700s, Carnival began to fade out during the rise of Napoleon.  In the late 1970s, the Venetian Carnival began to revive, as you can see in these photos.  

The most traditional type of costumes worn during the long history of Carnival included long-nosed masks in black or white, a black cloak or white veil, and a tricorn hat. Couples also liked to don matching outfits portraying allegorical characters.  However, the costumes of the modern 'Venetian Revival' have become even more elaborate.

:thumb53902292: umbrella by s0n-et-lumiere Divinite du Bengale 2 by multix Venice 52 by francescotosi
Venice Carnival - I by M-Kite venice... by rainroom:thumb52417291: Venezia by Eni24
Carnaval venitien 47 by Quicksilver307:thumb81440311: Carnaval venitien 35 by Quicksilver307 Carnaval venitien 45 by Quicksilver307
Carnaval venitien 53 by Quicksilver307:thumb81462570: Venice 99 by francescotosi Venice 126 by francescotosi
Venice 105 by francescotosi Venice's Carnival III by Mr-BigMan Guys on the Corner by IndigoWallaby

carnaval de venise Michele bis by YPH Carnaval de Venise 2008 J by YPH Carnaval de Venise 2008 Alain by YPH
Mysterious by Ciril:thumb76792544::thumb29699066:
Carnival of Venice by Siafoam:thumb29283081: Venice Carnival by nlat
The Jester by Stilfoto Venice 49 by francescotosi Two of a kind by Stilfoto
Jester by Stilfoto Venic Carnival 1 by Zzanthia:thumb52291167:
Mirror by Stilfoto Venice Carnival 4 by Zzanthia Venice Carnival 6 by Zzanthia
Carnivale I by Stilfoto:thumb48493553::thumb76484544:
:thumb76484424: Carnival mask 5 by slight111 Karneval, Venedig by Eni24
carnaval by deaviaggiando Carnaval venitien 86 by Quicksilver307 Venice 96 by francescotosi
Veniz' 1 by Blandounours Venice 110 by francescotosi Venice 87 by francescotosi
:thumb76484065::thumb48719185: Venice Carnival 2007 - pic 01 by Stilfoto
:thumb52183762::thumb51900497: Masquerades I by fibby-wonderland Carnevale a Venezia, Italia by Eni24
Venice 93 by francescotosi
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SonikkuHikari's avatar
These masks are wonderful!!I haven't seen it before yet..
kaijusizefeels's avatar
Ah these are wonderful! I've seen the masks displayed in stores but have not managed to make it to Venice during the carnival season yet.
DarkFireRaven's avatar
Wow, this is an awesome article! Beautiful features and great info! Thanks! ^_^
AvisBlack's avatar
I'm glad you're enjoying it. It's sort of an obscure topic, but I thought there might be some people out there interested in it.