Cheerfulness, levity, humor and loads of treats – this is the atmosphere that characterizes Carnival.
It is celebrated in countries having a Christian tradition, primarily Catholic, during the period that precedes Lent. The dates are not fixed and vary depending on the country.
It generally lasts for two weeks and the celebrations reach their climax between “Fat Thursday” and “Fat Tuesday” (the Thursday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).
In Milan, Carnival continues for an additional four days, ending on the first Sunday of Lent, and is called “Carnevalone” (big Carnival).
Etymology of the terms
The derivation of the term “Carnival” is not clear.
According to some, it is linked to “car navalis”, a Celtic initiation rite in which courageous men challenged nature and fate by boarding a ship without a rudder, leaving themselves at the mercy of the forces of nature.
A comparison can be made between this ritual and the current custom of having a parade of floats carrying carefree people in costumes.
According to others, Carnival derives from “carnes levare”, meaning remove the meat.
In this theory, the term makes reference to the fast during Lent, given that the celebration ends on Fat Tuesday, the day that precedes Ash Wednesday in Catholic countries.
In the next post, we will talk more about the customs and celebrations, without forgetting to mention the well-known Carnival Desserts.
If you are particularly drawn to this delicious topic, we suggest learning more by looking at the Carnival Desserts available from La Donatella…