Despite a temporary break in the weather, the Front Range of Colorado is in the grip of another long winter. Cloudy days and frigid nights may take their toll on us as winter drags on, but at Pinocchio’s Italian Restaurant in Brighton we aren’t letting the season get us down. Instead, we are reaching into our cultural heritage to bring some much needed celebration to our friends and customers. It’s time to lift our spirits and celebrate the venetian tradition of Carnevale!
The first Carnevale took place in 1162 to celebrate the defeat of Ulrico di Treven who sought to dominate all of Italy. The Republic of Venice celebrated their victory with a baroque festival including dancing and unique masks in San Marco Square. Carnivale became enormously popular during The Renaissance, a period of European history typified by artistic expression and academic enlightenment. Carnevale and the associated finery were outlawed in the late 1700’s, but in the latter half of the 19th century the party came roaring back. Now, approximately three million people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Venice every year to enjoy the festivities and hospitality that Italian culture is well known for.
Venetian Carnevale masks are one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday. They come in all shapes and sizes and were once a vital part of Venetian society. We may be accustomed to online anonymity in our time, but during Carnevale celebrations of The Renaissance, social privacy necessitated the use of masks. Without the stigma of their identities being compromised, participants in Carnevale were free to dance, sing, and party down on the streets of Venice. It’s amazing to see how many similar festivities have popped up all over the world. The masks were particularly important leading up to Ash Wednesday which kicks off Lent, a month of abstention and self reflection. Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) falls on February 17th this year, so make sure you have your masks and costumes ready.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian festival without food. At Pinocchio’s Italian Resturant in Brighton our celebration of traditional Italian cuisine never stops! We love to see how people all over the world have adopted pieces of Carnevale traditions and made them uniquely their own. For our part, we plan to keep the great food and wine flowing all month, so we hope that you’ll bring your family and friends by to celebrate with us.