Thousands of people took to the streets in Venice, Italy, this month to celebrate Carnival, the annual party that precedes Lent. The Carnevale di Venezia, as it's called in Italian, started Feb. 11 and was set to conclude Tuesday.
The final day's events included ice skating in the Campo San Polo, a youth carnival in Zelarino, a mask contest in the Piazza San Marco and a street show at the Piazza Ferretto, according to the Carnival website.
A masked reveler poses during the Venice Carnival in Venice, Italy Feb. 20, 2017. Photo: Reuters
Revelers pose in Saint Mark's Square during the Venice Carnival, in Venice, Italy Feb. 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters
Carnival is a tradition that takes it name from the Latin term "carnem levare," which translates to "remove the meat" — a reference to the holiday's timing, as Carnival ends just before Christians' fasting for Lent begins. Since the 18th century, Carnival has been a chance for people in various classes to mingle without inhibition, wearing masks and partying without regard to gender or religion, and that atmosphere persists today, according to Discover Italy.
"There is something magical about it," Spanish tourist Maile Rebella told GMA News Online. "It's something magical that you can't describe; you have to feel it. You need to live it and take part in it. We've had the great privilege of participating in the parade, and it's a real luxury."
Masked revelers pose during the Venice Carnival in Venice, Italy Feb. 17, 2017. Photo: Reuters
The masks remain a historic holdover from Carnivals of Venice past. With feathers, jewels, beads and bright colors, masks are sold all over Venice for the festival. Tourists and locals alike dress up as if they were headed to a ball for Carnival, even if they're just out and about for one of the many Carnival concerts, EuroNews reported.
"The theme of the mask is absolutely essential to help your imagination arrive at what I call the dream," costume designer Stefano Nicolao told CNN in 2014. "For me, emotion must emanate through the costume and the person who wears it. There must be beauty, originality, an explosion of color."
A reveler poses in St. Mark's Square during the Carnival in Venice, Italy Feb. 18, 2017. Photo: Reuters
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