Friday, February 27, 2009

End of Carnivale

So Carnivale ended Wednesday so I thought it would be interesting to look up the history of Carnivale. It does have an interesting history here in Italy. I hope you enjoy the history lesson.

Carnevale (or Carnivale, or Carnavale, alternate spellings you may find), is a festival which can trace its roots back to the Roman Saturnalia, a festival held in mid-December to honor the god Saturn with feasting, gift giving and role reversal. As often happened with such festivals, Catholics found a way to work the festival into their own liturgical year.

One commonly accepted derivation of the word "carnival" is the Latin "carne vale" or "farewell to meat." Carnival was the final hurrah as winter headed towards spring, and the long Lenten season of fasting and abstinence. It was, perhaps, not only a last chance to indulge the passions of the flesh, but an opportunity to consume any meat which had been put up for winter that might not stay fresh enough for consumption until spring brought the end of Lent and Easter.

Because of its ties to the liturgical calendar, Carnivale varies in length. It can be considered to begin with the feast of Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas) on January 6, and always ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The Lenten season is the 40 days before Easter, which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Confused yet? Don't worry about it. In 2003 Lent starts on Wednesday, March 5, which means the last day of Carnivale is Shrove Tuesday, March 4. (If you've never heard of Shrove Tuesday, perhaps you've heard of "Fat Tuesday" -- also known in French as Mardi Gras, or in Italian as Martedi Grasso. Is it all becoming clear now?)

Carnivale is celebrated with enthusiasm around the world; in the US the celebration in New Orleans is best known. In Brazil, Carnivale in Rio is famous (or infamous) for its wild abandon. Many cities in Italy have maintained or revived their traditions of Carnivale; especially well-known among them are Venice and Florence.

While Carnivale has a rich history and ancient roots in Italy, the festival remains a vital and contemporary celebration. A simple web search will reveal many images of celebrants in both historical and contemporary costumes. One of the common elements found throughout the tradition has remained the Carnivale mask.

Masks and Mummery
Venice (and many Italian cities) in the Middle Ages and Renaissance had a long tradition of mask-wearing among the nobility while engaging in activities of a questionable nature -- gambling, drinking, not to mention romantic and sexual rendezvous. Their activities were so outrageous that laws were passed to restrict the wearing of masks to certain times of year. One of those times was Carnivale.
Masks were also worn by the lower classes to allow them to mix unfettered with the aristocrats in such situations. The mask, after all, was a great equalizer in a social setting. This was especially common in Carnivale, with its traditions of role reversal and celebration of the fool.
One of the most common masked images of Venice and Carnivale is the Bautta -- a costume consisting of a white mask called the volto which covers 1/2 to 3/4 of the face, worn with a voluminous black veil and/or cloak, topped with a black tricorn hat. The bautta is particularly popular because it permits eating, drinking (and kissing) while disguising the features.

Another traditional mask, worn only by women (only by patrician women in the 18th century), is the moretta, a black oval mask that is held in place not with a band or string, but by a button on the inside of the mask that is held clenched between the teeth of the wearer.

Another popular traditional Carnivale role was the Gnaga -- men dressed as women, "imitating their ways but using much more vulgar speech." (In other words, what in the UK and US would be called "campy" drag.) Often the gnaghe (plural of gnaga) pretended to be nannies; they would therefore be accompanied by children or other grown men dressed as boys and girls -- or even babes in diapers.Cross-dress costumes are still very popular in the contemporary Carnivale celebrations.

Many other costumes are taken from the commedia dell'arte -- Arlecchino (Harlequin), Pantalone, Capitono, Brighella, Colombina, etc.

Another peculiarly popular and interesting character is "El Medico dea Peaste", the Plague Doctor.His costume originally served several functions -- first, in the time of plague, it was a disguise to hide the identity of a physician who by visiting plague victims might be exposed to contagion. The tunic was of pure linen or waxed cloth to protect him, and finally, he always had his trusty staff with which he removed the clothes of plague-victims, thinking that in this way the terrible epidemic would not bring him any harm.

And of course, contemporary Carnivale-goers may occasionally break with tradition and do something more topical than time-tested.

The word carnival, said carnovale in Tuscany, comes from the Latin carnem levare, an expression used in the middle ages which marked the beginning of the Lenten fast. A time of the year during which one was not allowed to eat meat (carne in Latin). But like many other festivals of our calendar, it derives from an ancient roman cult the Saturnalia, a pagan rites of fertility which were celebrated in honour of the god Saturn. During those celebrations everything was allowed, even disguising and change of rules. Carnivals were modified substantially because of its magic and ritual nature with Christianity, but it still was tolerated by the clergy. During the 15th and 16th century some traditions were recaptured and the use of masks and public fancies spread all over the country. The Venice Carnival is the largest and most important Venetian festival, an appreciated cocktail of tradition, entertainment, history and transgression in a unique city, a festival that attracts thousands of people from around the world each year. The Carnival has very old origins. It is a festival that celebrates the passage from winter into spring, a time when seemingly anything is possible, including the illusion where the most humble of classes become the most powerful by wearing masks on their faces. The official start of the Venice Carnival dates back to 1296, when the Senate of the Republic made the Carnival official with an edict declaring the day before Lent a public holiday. After an interruption lasting almost two centuries, the tradition of Carnival was rediscovered by the Municipality in 1980 and since then it has taken place every year with success. The 2009 edition, which will go on from February 13 to 24, will be called "Sensation, 6 senses for 6 districts" and will accompany visitors in the discovery of city's charming atmospheres, passing through the districts with a constant appeal to the senses, an invitation to immerse yourself fully into the emotional experience that only the Venice Carnival can give. A program rich with opportunities and fun for all ages, from the Contest for the best mask for children in St. Mark's Square, to the musical programs provided by ALL MUSIC in Santa Margherita and the Medieval and seventh-century music Concerts in Campo San Barnaba, to the reenactment of historical parades at St. Mark. The Carnival of Massafra is considered one of the more important of the Puglia. This because, with the exception of the other carnivals, the majority of the masked course is not barred, and citizens and the participates directly all' animation and to the fun, stimulated from the choreographies and the scenography of the wagons and the allegorical groups that parade along the main course of the country.

'Semel in anno licet insanire', 'madness is permissible once a year' - this ancient Roman saying seems particularly suitable for Fano, the home of one of the most famous carnivals in Italy. There are more than a month of festivities, when the streets of the city and its inhabitants abandon their daily routines and throw themselves into a flurry of festivity and processions. The Fano Carnival takes place with no expense spared and everyone joins in the festive atmosphere with gay abandon. It certainly has a long history. Not many people know that Fano Carnival began in medieval times, or more accurately, so the story goes, on the occasion of the reconciliation between two respectable families of the time, the Del Casseros and the Da Carignanos. But history and tradition are not the only important characteristics of the Carnival which tens of thousands of people come to see. The Fano Carnival is the world's "sweetest" carnival and the only one where you can watch and take part in a no-holes-barred battle fought with... yes, chocolates ! Hundreds of kilos of sweets, caramels and chocolates are showered from allegorical floats onto the crowds of spectators, who join in, young and old alike, throwing their "ammunition" at each other and even as far as the crowds on the opposite side of the procession. The procession ends with a magnificent show of illuminations, a festival of light and colour along approximately two kilometres, creating a fantasy of extraordinary shadows. In the words of the Fano Carnival slogan: bello da vedere, dolce da gustare, or beautiful to see, sweet to try. The Carnival also acts as a centre for cultural and popular tradition. The Papière Mâche School teaches youngsters the art of working with papière mâche while the city has a rich popular music heritage - the "Musica Arabita" band, described by writers such as Guido Piovene and Curzio Malaparte, has been playing since 1922 using bizarre improvised instruments created from every sort of object. In the year 2000, the city of Fano abolished entrance charges, allowing everyone to take part in the Carnival free of charge and thus once again making it a celebration by the people for the people. Also the grand evening masked veglione transforms the entire old town centre into a place of festivity. Added to this are two other major traditional events on Shrove Tuesday and Thursday which follow the same guiding principles and have brought unprecedented success to the whole Carnival.
I thought this was all very interesting and educational.

Monday, February 23, 2009

An All-Nighter

I think I'm gonna be pulling an all-nighter...crocheting that is. Our ward is having a boom of babies, and I am crocheting like mad!! One baby, a girl, born this morning, she was a week overdue. Stupid me didn't realize she was even due so soon. Any way, I love to I've been working on a dress and booties for the sweet little one and I'm not done. Then another dear friend is having a girl after a 13 year gap so I'm trying to finish a blessing gown and booties for her. That baby shower is tomorrow....will I get it done? I sure hope so. Another friend is having a boy, for the boys I crochet the edges of a blanket and burp cloth. I got that one done and she's not even due until next month. Another friend is having a girl and they moved back to the states so I need to get that one started, done and mailed by the end of next month!!! Another friend I don't know what they are having...hopefully I have a little bit of time. One of Wendy's friends is having a boy in July so I need to get that blanket and burp cloth done and mailed. This is not to mention the nephew whose wife is having a baby, due in August...don't know that one yet either. Oh man, am I gonna be tired!!!! So I only have to get two done by tomorrow!!! It's a good thing I LOVE to crochet and I LOVE my friends and family!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009


While we were in Venice on Wednesday we were privilaged enough to see the most amazing sights. But I think that the one that made us all homesick was the best of it all. When we arrived at Santa Lucia train station in Venice to return back to Sacile we heard some amazing music. We walked closer and saw Native Americans performing. That's right, Native Americans performing music from our homeland!! We could have sat and listened to them all night long, but we had to return home since Kaitlyn had to go to school on Thursday and Aimee had to work. DARN IT!!! I hope you enjoy the sounds of the Native Americans as much as we did!!

Dave and I are both from the desert southwest, I am from Southern New Mexico and Dave is from Southern Colorado, so we have a great love for the Native American culture and people.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our trip to Carnivale

On Wednesday we decided that we were going to go to Venice for Carnivale since it would be the last chance we have before returning to the states. We drove down to Sacile to catch the train, rode the train right to Santa Lucia train station and then we caught a water bus to San Marco Square where all the activity is. Once we got to San Marco Square we walked around to see all of the interesting costumes that people wear. Here in Italy it is all about the Reniasance period of time, so all the costumes are usually pertaining to that time period. I was really surprised by how elegant they all looked. There are also other types of costumes, court jesters, characters from movies and Hollywood and even animals like the dinosaur raptors we saw that even had sound effects!!! Kaitlyn had such a great time, she was so excited about being in Venice again and seeing the amazing sights and smelling the smells and hearing the sounds of the old city. She wanted to dance around every where and I was so afraid she was gonna end up in the lagoon!! She wanted to buy everything of course but we limited her on the amount. We sat down at an outdoor cafe in the square to have a bite to eat since we were all starving. Aimee and Wendy went off on their own to explore and to check out the men. Kaitlyn worried about them the whole time we were apart, but we tried to distract her with the sights. We thought the most amazing costumes were those children that were dressed up in fancy clothes and of course the dinosaur raptors. When we all met up at the pier to go back to the train station we watched the city workers remove the rotted out posts that were in the was amazing to see that they were able to do it so quickly. We decided that instead of the water bus, we would take a private water taxi back to the train station. It was a bit more expensive but it was totally worth it. We were able to see a different side of Venice and it was quicker than taking a water bus. The water bus is very crowded and the water is very choppy so I got a bit of motion sick. The water bus also stops at every pier along the Canal Grande to pick up and drop off people. With the water taxi it wasn't so bad.

This is a church, convent, monasary, I think, that sits on an island across the lagoon from San Marco Square. The last time we went to Venice when we first got here to Italy it was very smoggy and you couldn't really see across the lagoon very well, but today was beautiful.

We were able to find a way to use a restroom for free at the McDonald's that was hiding behind the Square. Most public restrooms you have to pay to use and they are the European toilets, the squatters. GROSS! We all have had to use them at one time or another since we have been here, but we prefer not to.

This is an alley that we walked down to get back to the Square after exploring what we would call the back streets of Venice. There were shops gallor down every alley. And yes, they are extremely small, not very handicap friendly, but we managed. There were even nice hotels down these alleys. Amazing!!

We found a shop that had masks that looked like the 'Borg' from Star Trek. Awesome!!

The courts jesters! There were alot of these type of costumes.

The gondolas that are the typical 'romantic' ride of the Canal Grande. They are WAY to expensive for my taste, but they look cool.

Kaitlyn said it was freezing so she had to hide her head in her jacket. Behind her is the train we rode in on. Santa Lucia train station is on the other side of this water way.

Wendy said this was so high school. But I thought it was cool. We were at the Sacile train station waiting for Dave to make it back with the car. My feet are the ones in CROCS, the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life!!! Going to the right is Aimee, Kaitlyn and Wendy. I have the coolest looking feet. ;)

We had an amazing time spending the day with our family in a place that, at least Dave and I, will probably never be again. This was our last opportunity to go during Carnivale and we loved it!!! In the states we call it Mardi Gras but in the country where it originated it is called Carnivale!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What the Heck!?

I am totally addicted to Facebook and blogging. Why? Because all my old friends from Alamogordo, NM, are on there. It has been great to catch up with them all and be able to reconnect with them. I can't believe how all of us have become ADULTS...when the heck did that happen? I love it!!! We all have families that are growing and becoming adults before we even realize WE are adults. I am havin' a hard to time with this grown up thing, but at the same time I love it. We have hopefully accomplished the things we have wanted to and are happy in our lives. At least for the most part. ;) I think we need to have a reunion with all of us alumni of the Alamogordo wards from 1979 to 1990. It would be so cool to see how we have come so far. Did we ever think we would make it this far?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Dinner Date

On Valentine's for dinner Dave and I took the girls to a nice restaurant, Casa Bianca, here in Aviano. It is a very nice restaurant, you know the kind, with candlelight at each table and a vase with a rose in it, bright colors and beautiful linens on the table. Being Valentine's Day we didn't realize that it would be as packed as it was, the room that was nicely decorated was reservations only! So we got to sit in the banquet room which was not as nicely decorated, it is usually used for kids field trips, group parties, and the like. Any way, we sat down and looked at the menu and placed our order. We had a fantastic meal, yummy all around. Along one wall was a set of tables set together for like 20 people, and half way through our meal this family comes in and spreads out along this table. The children, there were three, were abnoxiously loud and were EVERY where. A few minutes later another family comes in with another four children and they proceeded to do the same as the other children. By now I was getting annoyed and wanted to leave but not everyone was finished with their meal. A few minutes later another family comes to join the other two families and they too had three or four children, the noise was more than I could handle. We walked up to the register to pay for our meal and there was a couple standing there waiting for their table. I looked at the woman and she was holding a leash, I followed the leash to the ground and there to my shock was a DOG! Is it just me or does anyone else find that just a bit GROSS? I was so glad that we were leaving because I just can't eat with an animal nearby. We have also noticed that people take their animals every where with them, the grocery store and obviously to the restaurants.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is a day for romance and romantical thoughts and wishes, well for most people any way. For me today is the day twenty-two years ago that Dave officially asked me to marry him. He asked me origanially on January 26, 1987, but didn't put a diamond on my hand until Valentine's Day. He wanted me to meet his parents so that weekend he and I drove from Holloman AFB, New Mexico, to Mesa, Arizona. It was a nice drive and his parents were great! We talked about where we were going to be married and when. We decided to go with my long time dream of being married in the Mesa Temple and the day we chose was the 16th of April of '87, the day that my maternal grandparents were sealed and my mom was sealed to her parents in 1965. Dave doesn't have a romantic bone in his body but he shows me that he loves me all the time and says it often. I try to do wonderful things for him to show him that I love him. I wouldn't trade him for anyone else in the world. We have stuck together through many ups and downs and our marriage is stronger for it. I love Dave with all of my heart and soul, he helps me to be the best that I can be. He helps me to see the good in myself and helps me to understand the Gospel and helps my testimony grow stronger.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doing SSSSSOOOO Much Better!!

Finally, I am well enough to go out and about. Thank goodness too because we are going to Venice for Carnivale next Wednesday!! No we just have to pray that it is a sunny beautiful day. It has been raining so much that as of last weekend Venice was flooding. That makes me ask the question...Where do they pump the water when it floods?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feeling Somewhat Better

Well, I am feeling a little bit better. I still don't have a voice, I still can't talk above a whisper. I can't believe this virus has kicked my butt so hard. I haven't been this sick in several year. The girls have been so helpful and Dave has had to take time off to help me around the house. It is so weird to have to rely on others to help to walk from one place to another just because I am so unsteady on my feet. Monday night was the worst night. I thought I was going to die, I even made Dave make some promises to me concerning our family. He was really scared, as was I. At 1230am he called our Bishop to assist in giving a priesthood blessing. The Bishop came to help and was such a great help to Dave. I am so grateful for the priesthood, and the men in my life that are worthy to participate in such ordinances. I love my husband so much and I am so sorry that I scared him. I am so thankful for the Bishop and his willingness to get dressed in his white shirt and tie to assist my Darling Husband in the middle of the night, and to give Hubby a blessing as well to help him to cope with whatever was going to happen and to even give him counsel on our future.

There is something pretty amazing about the priesthood blessings we receive from worthy priesthood holders. When a worthy priesthood holder performs this sacred ordinance he is acting under the authority of our Heavenly Father. That blessing is a message directly from Him, and we are told things that we need to hear. These blessings are sometimes the most sacred messages we can ever receive. They can sometimes be messages of guidance, comfort, and healing. I have been on the receiving end of many of these blessings and each one has been different and each has helped me in that time of my life.

I thank my Heavenly Father each day for the blessings I have received in my life and have learned many things from each one. I have received blessings at the hands of my Daddy, my Darling Hubby, my Awesome Brothers, and even my Great Father-in-law, and other worthy priesthood holders. I am so grateful for those worthy to perform such priesthood blessings. I also need to thank the wives of those men who have answered the call for assistance during all hours of the day and night. Thank you!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Still Sick, but so Happy

Okay, so we are going on another week of this stupid virus. I can't talk, much to the delight of my family. It seems they think I talk too much, I can't imagine why. I suppose I know where my Kaitlyn got it from...her Mommie. I failed to mention the other day that even though I was sick and feel like crap, I have lost 11 pounds since October. Can I be happy for at least one thing? Heck yeah!!! I haven't slept well for about four days now, every time I lay down I start coughing and no amount of Nyquil is doing the trick. UGH!! I just want to be better. The doctor told me on Friday, "No Pepsi!! Drink lots of water to stay hydrated even if you don't eat." Don't eat you say? Right on, like I can swallow anything any way. Water? Surely you jest!! Kaitlyn thought that that was a great idea, if she sees me with a Pepsi she says, "Mom, NO PEPSI!! How can you get better if you don't drink water or juice. At least mix some orange juice in that glass." Okay, so I love to drink orange juice and Diet Pepsi mixed together. It might sound gross but it is so good. Besides, I can't drink straight orange juice, it's too strong and if I drink too much I break out in hives. Can you imagine, can't talk, coughing up a lung AND have hives? I don't think so. Any way, I think I'll go take a nap. Forget it, that couch is callin' my name!!