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How is Carnival celebrated in Spain and Italy?

Carnival takes place all this month in Luxembourg. But, how is it celebrated in other countries? Does Carnival exist everywhere?

Our ambassadors explain how they celebrate this event and the cultural differences between Luxembourg and their countries. Today, Carola and Cristina talk about Spain and Italy!

In Spain

When: From 04/02/2016 to 10/02/2016 Where: Several spaces in the city City: Barcelona

Barcelona’s Carnival comes to the city under the reign of a new monarch, Queen Belluga. The festival recuperates Queen Belluga, a traditional figure from the 17th century, prior to King Carnestoltes. Belluga is the queen of nutters and nerds, of fun and disobedience.

This year’s programme includes over 30 parades, which take place all around the city. Celebrations start on 4 February with the arrival of Queen Belluga and the Carnival fireworks. The parade for the queen’s 7 ambassadors, the musical entourage and the giants Rodanxó and Rodanxona will precede the entrance of Queen Belluga herself, who will proclaim her reign and invite everyone to take part in a few days of intense revelry.

From then on, and up until 10 February, with the traditional burial of the sardine, bedlam will reign. As is traditional, the orange fest on 7 February will be the main event for Carnival and is designed for all the family to take part in.

For full information on Barcelona’s Carnival here. Another Carnival with a long catalan tradition is in Sitges, a coast village near Barcelona, more info here.

Carola Bedós, Spanish Ambassador 

In Italy

Carnival is a festival in which, through the use of masks or disguises social norms, personal identity or gender no longer exist and where anything can happen. In ancient times probably it was the feast of the transition from winter to spring, from the darkness to the light. The name comes from the Latin expression carnem levare which means “remove the meat” or from carne vale “goodbye meat”. In fact, Carnival is placed just before the Lenten season, a period that coincides with austere practices in Catholic countries such as fasting, waiting for the big Easter celebrations.

In Italy the Carnival is celebrated in different ways in different regions. The most famous one occur in Venice. Every year there is a different theme, guiding every organized feast or events: this year is "The feast of the King." The parade of Venetian masks along the canals is very picturesque.

Also in Viareggio, Tuscany, we find a very colourful Carnival where floats parade through the streets of the town. They are normally satirical renditions of political or other public figures. Float artists work in hangar on the seaside in the months prior to the event. The best float is awarded!

In Ivrea, Piedmont, takes place a very particular Carnival event characterized by the "Battle of the oranges". People on foot and on floats fight with oranges which represent ancient arrows and stones used in rebellion to put an end to the ‘right’ of the Duke to sleep with each new bride of the community.

But how do we celebrate in families? Normally we organise fancy dress parties for adults and children where everyone enjoys jokes and music. Sometimes themed parties are organised but normally children love to dress up like their favourite characters or like animals. Houses are decorated with streamers and confetti and traditional sweets as “bugie”, “frappe” or the apple fritters are eaten. They are no too different from the Luxembourg Verwurelter!

There are also traditional masks linked to every Italian region. Arlecchino and Pulcinella are probably the most popular masks. They incarnate and exacerbate the typical character of the inhabitants of their original region.    

Cristina Salio, Italian Ambassador                                           
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