This year I planned to go and finally see the animated floats on the first day of the oldest and most elaborate Carnival parade in Sicily.
As with most well intentioned plans it came across many obstacles, including a feverish four year old and an unmotivated Sicilian husband who didn’t fancy a long road trip from home.
I’m thankful for the many Carnevale celebrations all around Sicily (and Italy for that matter) there isn’t only Venice, Viareggo or Acireale, each town celebrates this wintertime festival, which is defined by my computers New Oxford American dictionary as follows:
1 a period of public revelry at a regular time each year, typically during the week before Lent in Roman Catholic countries, involving processions, music, dancing, and the use of masquerade.
You don’t have to go to Rio to experience and authentic Carnival, the spirit is in having a good time, dressing up with your children and eat loads of deep fried sweets (and obviously give up hope in ever starting a diet or maintaining you waist line!) Like these fried Zeppole di patate and icing sugar covered Chiacchiere.
Traditionally Carnevale was a hedonistic celebration to make the most of the days before Lent, period of fasting before Easter. The word itself derives from Carne/vale literally adieu or absence of meat, as meat was given up for the forty days of Lent.
In smaller towns the celebrations happen in the last week of Carnevale, particularly ‘Giovedi grasso’ and the final day before ash Wednesday which is rather originally called ‘Martedi grasso’ big fat Thursday and Tuesday filled with costumes, parades and justifiably big eating!
I’ve seen my share of little Carnevale celebrations and I am constantly surprised by peoples ingenuity in the construction of DIY floats and costumes there is a real flare of creativity in it all. What makes me love this time of year is how much the children adore it, for the first time my four year old was able to dress up, participate in the spectacle, he loved it and so did I.
(Images of Carnival treats from Google)