During the carnival days, real life fades into the background. There remains only a fictional, but no less attractive and exciting world. A riot of colors, smiles, songs and wine provide an amazing opportunity to become someone else for a while. This is what attracts so many people to Europe’s annual carnivals.
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Agree, already with trying on a carnival costume, you feel how the holiday enters the house. Our ancestors noticed such an unusual relationship between good mood and smart clothes long ago. The history of fancy dress is, of course, closely interconnected with the history of the origin of carnivals.
Let’s look back centuries
Bright carnivals in Europe have invariably enjoyed love, both among commoners and noble gentlemen. Festive events provided an excuse, at least for a while, to erase conventions and class differences between people. It was the time of the most dizzying follies! For example, masked ladies from high society at this time could have a short romance with soldiers and other ordinary people from the people. And the servants, covering their faces, freely feasted at the same table with their masters.
Masks and costumes gave an indescribable feeling of freedom to all participants.
Types of European carnivals
The ancient Romans annually held a big festival in honor of Saturn, which was called Saturnalia. On this day, mass festivities, songs and dances were held. The masks were invented by the Romans so that on this day everyone can enjoy the fun, regardless of class differences. And in ancient Greece, praise was given to Dionysius – the god of wine.
Traditionally, most carnivals began with solemn processions along the city streets. All participants were certainly in original costumes. The procession was accompanied by singing, dancing and roaring music.
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It must be said that many carnivals in medieval Europe were tied to specific themes. This is how the holidays of the donkey, fools and gluttons were held. As well as events meeting or seeing off the cold winter. The selection of costumes depended not only on the theme, but also on the country in which the celebration took place.
The Venetians have surpassed everyone in the scale of carnivals. The basis of the costume was a half mask – a bow and a black domino cloak. For a long time, carnivals in Venice have been the favorite entertainment of city dwellers. Gradually, interest in them faded away. Today, with the development of the tourism business, carnival processions are held with the same style again.
In medieval England, in addition to public processions, there were masquerade balls for the highest nobility. With the help of costumes, gentlemen tried to imitate nymphs, satyrs and the gods themselves.
In France, costumes from French and Italian folk theaters were popular. Numerous Columbines, Pierrot, Harlequins, etc. gave performances in the streets.
At the carnival processions, the Hungarians try on animal skins and ring bells, joyfully greeting spring.
No less fun and colorful carnivals are held in Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries.
What is the meaning of carnival costumes
Over time, to participate in the festive processions, people began to pay careful attention to the decoration of the carnival costume. Props, decor, additional accessories helped to create a bright and unforgettable image. The main attribute of the carnival costume has always been the mask. Some peoples put a special meaning in wearing it:
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- Destruction of class boundaries
To make everyone have the same fun on holidays, people have come up with different types of masks. In medieval times, the boundaries of estates were a serious obstacle to work and communication. Therefore, many only welcomed a short-term departure from reality into a fictional upside-down world.
- Scaring away evil spirits
In medieval Europe, there was always a strong belief in the existence of otherworldly and impure forces. The mask helped scare them away, and, if desired, enter into a dialogue. (if you drink enough))). In fact, beliefs originate in archaic cultures. Once upon a time, masks were put on the dead to protect them from malevolent spirits.
- Unity of the people
With the help of a suit, it is customary to emphasize their nationality to the country. Hundreds of people in the same clothes, who are solemnly marching through the streets of cities, demonstrate the uniqueness and unity of their people.
One way or another, but the ideas of reincarnation captured the whole world.
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