Carnival, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday; whatever you choose to call it, the last day before the start of Lent, the 40 days of repentance is famous to bring out the wild side of millions of people all over the world. In fact, in many countries, locals are known to spend over a month taking to the streets, parading, donning Venetian masks, and partying late into the wee hours of the morning.
Venice, Rio and New Orleans are just some of the many popular destinations in the world that tempt you to put your masks for masquerade balls and have some sinful fun!
• Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Thousands of tourists and locals are able to have ball of a time in New Orleans, when the city is known to loosen is reins a little and douse itself with limitless strings of beads, festive costumes and eye catching floats. The city is known to host some of the most spectacular parades starting 2 weeks prior to Mardi Gras.
• Carnival of Binche – Binche, Beglium
In Binche, it is considered to be great honor for a man to be selected to join the Gilles on Shrove Tuesday each year. Gilles are essential clown like performances who wear plumed hats, wax masks and colorful costumes. They are known to start dancing around the city during the wee hours of the morning and continue doing so late into the night.
• Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
This region comes with a rich and vibrant history with French roots. The Carnival is considered to be one of the most important celebrations of the year. The Monday and Tuesday right before Ash Wednesday is the time when thousands of locals flock the streets to show off their elaborate costumes that may have taken months to finish. Complete with traditional Venetian masks and a range of events such as a competition for the title of ‘the Band of the Year’ and the ‘Calypso Monarch’, visiting this Caribbean treasure during Carnival is a experience worth having.
• Carnival of Brazil – Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil
There is absolutely no Carnival celebration in the world that can compete with the atmosphere that is created in Rio de Jeneiro during the festivals. Brazilians are known to takes their weeks before Lent extremely seriously. This means that you get a chance to witness some of the largest and most elaborate parades. Just 2 years ago, it was estimated that 5 million people attended the Carnival in Brazil. For some high-octane partying, Rio de Jeneiro is the place to be.
• Mardi Gras – Sydney, Australia
A rather underrated Carnival destination, the city makes the most of this festival to support the LGBT community. The evening parade down Oxford and Flinders streets are worth watching. You must also make time to attend the drag races on Bondi Beach, the sunset cruise and the harbor-side dance party.
Other unlikely contenders but equally exciting Carnival destinations include the Notting Hill Carnival, London; the Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City and the Carnival celebrations in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Traditionally, Venetian masks were used to protect the identities of the wearer in ancient Rome. Today, they have become somewhat of a style statement where guests of carnival celebrations around the world don some of the most unique styles that are fragrant with style and elegance.
Most Venetian masks are made out of clay. But, you may also find some great ones in papier-mâché, complete with vibrant hues and diamantes’ and other exquisite decorations.
1.The Columbiana – Typically made for women, this half-mask covers the eyes, nose and upper cheeks of the wearer. These masks for masquerade balls are often adorned with crystals, gold, silver and feather. You can tie them up with ribbons or even hold them in front of your face with the help of a baton.
2.The Harlequin – The peculiarity of these masks come in the form of a large, hooked nose. These also come with black and white checked diamonds and distinctly painted lips.
3.The Medico Della Peste – these full face Venetian masks are one of the most unusual and easily identifiable masks, these come with a long beak and were interestingly created as a tool to prevent the spread of diseases. Hence, these are also known as plague doctor masks.
4.The Jolly Venetian – These half or full face Venetian masks represent jokers and come with iconic curly hair and matching bells. These masks are visually more appealing than the quintessential face of a clown and come with a number of appealing decorations.
5.The Cat –Also known as the gatto mask, these masks look a lot like the face of a cat. They come with small ears and are usually only half masks that cover the top. These masks are fun to wear at a party and are quite effective in hiding identities.
Select from one of these unique Venetian masks and you will be any party’s centre of attention. Choose from a range of styles and designs such as exquisite masks that are decorated with crystals, elegant feathers and bejewelled accessories. You can also find a range of petite masks that are designed especially to show a greater part of your face.
Baroque eye masks also offer a unique majestic flair complete with gold or silver filigree, beads and intricate metal work that make heads turn!
Put on a mask that suits your facial structure best and you will be sure to make heads turn the next time you are at a masquerade party, Halloween party, wedding celebration or a fancy red carpet event!