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  • Writer's pictureBerose

"The Mascarades" and the mysterious carnival origins

The people are dancing around the fire, captivated by the fermented grapes juice, letting themselves be carried out by a kind of mystic trance, while their bodies move in ecstasy around the bonfire, exhorting pleasure and joy, while their souls will be redeemed in the ceremony with the gods and their lands blessed for planting, predicting good harvests.

This could have been the festival of ancient festivity that gave rise to the carnival, a popular event around the world, where people are used extravagant clothing and colourful masks. This festivity linked to Christianity, allowing certain excesses forty days before the celebration of the Catholic Easter Week.

Like most Catholic festivities, the carnival has based on a pagan ceremony, a hypothesis tells us that more than five thousand years ago, in Sumerian the goddess Gestin or the goddess Ishtar was worshipped so that the land was fertile and provided good harvests so, this celebration would be imported or adopted by the Egyptians, the Greeks and of course, by the Romans, due to the Sumerians are considered the civilization from which many others emanated. Thus, that Sumerian festival would become the worship of Apis by the Egyptians, the wild Dionysus ceremony by the Greeks and the Roman bacchanal in honour of the god Bacchus.

Although also, the carnival could be linked to the winter festivities of the Saturnalia, however, this was replaced by the Catholic Christmas, which indicates that the carnival could be a version of the Lupercalia celebrated by the Romans so that women and the earth were fruitful.

As a idiosyncrasy, the Roman celebration of the LupercalIa had somewhat grotesque overtones: The Lupercos priests practised sacrifices of goats and wolves, with their skins skinned, they whipped the women, because they believed that such rituals would make them fertilise. Some believe, that this rite could be the origin of the costumes since they used the skins on them to symbolize power and fertility. However, the most widespread use of costumes was implemented to safeguard the identity, therefore maintaining them anonymous participation in, due to in there everything was allowed, even citizens and slaves had "equality" under the costume during the carnival festivities.

On the American continent, the carnival came from European colonizers and their evangelizing Christianity crusade, however, their festivity was syncretized with native spring equinox ceremonies linked to farming and fertility.

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil has one of the most famous carnivals recognized by the Guinness record as the largest in the world, the festivity stands out with extravagant plumes, colourful feathers and spectacular women dancing with the samba rhythm Also in Latin America, the carnival of Mazatlán, in the northern Sinaloa state in Mexico, has as its singular mark: the majestic allegorical cars and the performance of band and drum concerts along of the front see, from which you can see the magnanimous Pacific Ocean. Of course, moreover fantastic celebrations are the Argentina and Uruguay carnivals, but, Barranquilla in Colombia and Havana in Cuba carnival, are not far behind, where the joy of the people contagious anyone. In the USA the New Orleans Carnival is known for street jazz and the mix of several cultures.

The Venice carnival, whose sophisticated masks evoke the purest eccentricity of the Renaissance. During the carnival, Venice mixes its Renaissance landscape with the intensity of crimson red, cobalt blue, bright gold brocades and sophisticated masks, while the bacchanal people overflow the canals, alleys and squares. In Europe, also the Binche in Belgium and Cologne in Germany are stand out, the Cologne carnival festivity being held in the month of November.

Many of the current carnivals are celebrated approximately 40 days before the Catholic Easters and usually lasts 3 or 4 days in which the hubbub, music, costumes, allegorical cars and troupe's performance occupy the streets, enveloping the cities of colour. and party.

Carnival Tourism was suspended during the pandemic, and some, such as the one in the Veracruz city in Mexico, this 2022 has been moved to summer months.

Whichever famous carnival you choose, remember to book well in advance, if possible a year before, due to since the hotel offer in these cities is usually saturated, as well as transport. I recommend that you planning your trip and do not forget bring there your mascarade.

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