If we turn the pages of history, the origin of the word Carnival can be traced to a document of the Doge Vitale Falier of 1094, where the term was used for the first time to talk about public amusements. Be it in the eleventh century or in the twenty first century,’Carnival’ means celebration, partying, enjoyment and entertainment. And Carnival of Venice is all about that and also a lot more! Venice is among the most visited tourist attractions of the world and the carnival, rightly nicknamed as the ‘magnet of Europe’, is considered one of the most important events in present day Venice.
The origin of Carnival of Venice can be traced to two major religious festivals, namely Latin Saturnalia and Greek Dionysian. The core essence of both these festivals was to unite the human being in harmony by completely doing away with social barriers and conventions. Masks and masquerades have always been an integral component of this festival. Earlier, the celebration of the Carnival in Venice would last six weeks, from December 26 to Ash Wednesday. For the year 2014, the festival will begin on 22 February and will go on till 4th March.
Dates: Usually between the months of February and March every year, starting around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ending on Shrove Tuesday.
Location: Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy.
In And Around the Festival
For the year 2014, the theme is ‘A Fairy Tale Carnival- The Fantasy Forest’.
The highlights of the programme are:
• 14th February: Prologue, Valentine’s Day
• 15th February: Opening of the Venetian Festival with a show, Cannaregio
• 16th February: Boat pageant – Grand Canal – Cannaregio
• 23rd February: Flight of the Angel
• 1st March: Float parade, Marghera
• 2nd March: Flight of the Eagle and Flight of the Donkey, Mestre
• 3rd March: Carnival Culture Night
• 4th March: Flight of the Lion, Silent Water Parade, the Great Fire
There are numerous other events and programmes which are spread over the entire duration of the carnival and are also priced differently. More information on them can be obtained from the official website of the carnival.
There is no dearth of accommodation options in and around Venice. However, Carnival of Venice happens to be an important event, attracting tourists from all the world over. So, it is highly recommended that tourists planning their visit during this period should make their bookings beforehand. This will also help you make your bookings at a reasonable rate as the rates tend to skyrocket usually during the time of the carnival.
Tips for your Trip
• As far as accessing Venice is concerned, that is really not an issue as Venice is well connected via flight to all major countries in the world.
• If you’re going to the Carnival, do not forget to buy a mask before you enter for any of the events. Carnival of Venice is incomplete without its masks and masquerades.
• Don’t get intimidated by the elaborate pictures of costumes which you spot on the Internet of the Carnival. It is really your choice the way you decide to dress up!
• If you’ve rented a costume, ensure that you take proper care of it. There are a lot of pigeons in Venice.