Carnevale, which occurs 40 days before Easter, is celebrated in Italy as a huge winter festival. Parades, masquerade balls, music, and parties are the main way Italians celebrate this day. It is custom to take dressed-up children to the Piazza, major town square, to play around and show their costumes off, coriandoli (small colorful pieces of paper) are thrown at each other. For the adults pranks are common, thus the saying A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale, which translate to “anything goes at carnival.”
A deeper meaning to Carnevale comes from its Latin roots carnem levare, a farewell to meat as a penance while preparing for Easter. Nowadays some people follow this tradition by observing lent.
Venice is known for being the best city to celebrate Carnevale, usually starting few days earlier. The Venetian artisans make traditional masks and dresses that are the most colorful, elaborate, and fascinating. On the day of Carnevale, the parade hosted in Venice is second to none.
Viareggio, in the seaside of Tuscany, is also known for its parade, featuring huge paper mache floats. This parade starts in the afternoon and continues until dark. It also includes a firework show, making this parade a very unique one.
Dolci Tradizionali – Traditional Sweets
During the celebration of Carnevale, there are traditional sweets, which are prepared to enjoy during the parades and parties.
The ones that are offered at Marchese Italian Market are:
· Migliaccio: traditional Carnevale cake made mostly in southern Italy. Traditionally this confection was made with the flour of “miglio”, which was a very humble cereal, from which its name originated. Nowadays, Migliaccio is made with semolina flour and ricotta cheese, which creates a very moist and sweet cake.
· Chiacchiere (Chit Chats): one of the most traditional sweets during Carnevale throughout Italy. Chiacchiere are strips of sweet pastry dough fried and coated with powdered sugar.
· Frittelle di Carnevale (Fritters): fried dough crunchy on the outside, soft and filled with pastry cream on the inside.
A seasonal drink is also offered it s “Vin Brule”, in English it is known as Mulled Wine, and is a warm beverage made with wine, traditionally it is made with red wine, sugar and spices. Vin Brule is the perfect drink to warm up in the cold winter days and for a soar throat.