The Carnival of Venice (Italian: Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. The carnival ends on Shrove Tuesday (Martedì Grasso or Mardi Gras), which is the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. The festival is world famous for its elaborate masks.
The Carnival of Venice was back in 1979
After a long absence, the Carnival returned in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centrepiece of its efforts. The redevelopment of the masks began as the pursuit of some Venetian college students for the tourist trade. Since then, approximately 3 million visitors have been coming to Venice every year for the Carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella (“the most beautiful mask”), which is judged by a panel of bog international costume and fashion designers.
Mask is at the heart of the Carnival
Masks have always been an important feature of the Venetian carnival. Traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen’s Day, December 26) and the end of the carnival season at midnight of Shrove Tuesday (movable, but during February or early March). As masks were also allowed on Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large portion of the year in disguise.