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Venice Carnival Activities

Venice Carnival started in the year 1162 and is one of the oldest celebrations of the city. Although the carnival was not staged for a long period of time, but after resuming from 1979 the festival is one of the major attractions of Venice. The Venice carnival activities host a wide range of events like masks parade, costume ball and gala dinner.

The carnival starts two weeks before the Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday. The carnival is a major celebration before the beginning of the Lent Period. People during this time roam the place wearing masks and elegant costumes. This year the Carnival will be held from February 26 to March 08. The Venice carnival theme of 2011 is a tribute to the unification of Italy and women as March 08 is the International Women’s Day.

The main events of the carnival take place in the St. Mark’s Square. The streets are filled with actors, jugglers, magicians and acrobats. These people perform throughout the celebration, enchanting every spectator. Illusion, mime and stunning acrobatic moves leave the spectator delighted. The streets are also filled with signers as singing and dancing are a major part of the carnival of Venice. By the evening, the whole of Venice lights up and music and dance shows takes the centre stage. People also participate in activities like masks parade and costume ball.

These events are equally participated by both the locals and the tourists. Participants of the Venice carnival wear mask with elegant and matching costume to disguise themselves. The wearing of masks erases the gap between people. During the carnival people from all class, sex and race mingle together to celebrate. It was basically for this reason the mask is included in the carnival. The Venetian masks became a part of the carnival many centuries ago. With the social difference being prevalent during those days masks were a perfect way to participate in the carnival.

There many types of masks that were used in the earlier days and even today it is an essential part of the celebration. One of the popular ways of dressing in disguise is done by couples, when they dress themselves in allegorically to each other. Some of the popular masks are Gnaga Mask, Moreta Mask and Bauta Mask. Today, shops of Venice sell these masks and costumes along with other artifacts. Even one may rent the masks and costumes to participate in the masquerade ball.

The Venice carnival activities are not just limited to the masquerade but also extend to food and drinks. The two week carnival is famous for its exotic cuisine and drinks. On a visit to St. Marks Square one would witness a whole variety of food. From traditional cake to modern drinks everything is available. A bite into the cakes that has its root back to history is not worth missing. Many say the Romans used the same dough to prepare lasagna that was used to prepare Galani for the carnival. Apart from this there are dishes like fried rice balls, hard boiled egg with pickled onion and salmon salad.

This year the theme of the Venice Carnival will be a tribute to the unification of Italy and women. March 08 being the last day of the carnival and also the women day, a silent boat race will be organized at the Grand Canal or Canal Grande.

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