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Carnival anthropology


ď ś The festivity has always represented a mirror of social, political and civil conditions of the times as well as the maximum representation of transgression.


 Carnival has always been and will always be the symbol of amusement and fun. The term used to describe the festivity derives from the latin “Carnem levare” that is the ecclesiastic prohibition to eat meat during the period of Lent.


ď ś People from the lower middle classes, artisans, merchants organized short burlesque representations in order to criticize some episodes: they criticized the rich and wealthy ones, they mocked adulteries and sexual transgressions.


ď ś The origins of the festivity of Carnival are in the ancient roman ceremonies, which also marked a moment of discussion about the authority.


ď ś The relationship between Carnival and purification seems very close, it is a renewal of the person in preparation of a change. In fact Carnival represents the inversion of the roles by means of costumes and overturning of daily life.


 Carnival found its origins in very ancient festivity. In XV e XVI, in Florence the Medici’s organized great masked wagons called “Trionfi”, accompanied by songs and dance written by Lorenzo the Magnificents.


The Carnival of Nice  Each year, lots of tourists come, to the city were fashion shows are held, there are floats and masks and especially the famous “battles of flowers”: flowers are in fact the main element of this Carnival.


ď ś In the same period there is also the beer festival, with typical music and singing. The day of Mardi Gras takes place by the impressive parade of masks, and chariots, and public.


Carnival in Germany ď ś In Germany, Cologne is renown for its Carnival: this day is entirely dedicated to women, who dominate in homes, offices and shops.


The Carnival in Greece ď ś In Greece, the most prestigious Carnival is held in Patras. The battles of chocolate are a typical moment of the celebration where some girls wearing colourful costumes.


 The most important mask of Patras Carnival is the “black domino” which derived from the Carnival of Venice.

 On Friday, in the municipal theater there is the first dance of the “black domino”, in which men wear the traditional costume called “tudexos”.


The Carnival in South America ď ś In South America, Carnival has always been an event of great importance for the people. Brazil certainly has the merit of creating one of the most popular, luxurious and meaningful carnival in the world.


 The music can be performed by “Trios Electrico”, a kind of traveling orchestra and "batucadas", music from the African tradition. People can also dance to the rhythm of “capoeria” and the "frevo", similar to polka.


The Carnival in London ď ś The Notting Hill Carnival originated from the Caribbean immigrants. It had to be a party for all those who had to deal daily with racism, lack of work and poor living conditions.


ď ś Bands, groups in disguise and dance groups took to the streets for the first time in 1964 and it has been a great success ever after.


ď ś Participants may belong to the five categories of the Carnival: - Mas, to "masqueradeâ€? - Soca and Calypso - Steelbands - Groups of dancer - Street musicians who help create the ambience.


Carnival in New Orleans  The origins of Carnival in New Orleans is called Mardi Gras celebration. The Carnival of New Orleans has become the craziest party in the world where the festivities are a very “serious” matter, so that the organizers call this period "madness".


Carnival in Sicily ď ś The earliest historical information about Sicilian carnival referred to the city of Palermo and, with the passing of the years, the festivity assumed more and more attention in the preparation of decorations, costumed and masks.


 In olden times in Sicily it was possible to watch particular dances, like that “of the slaves” during which participants dressed us slaves and danced through the streets to the sound of drums.


“The cuisine of a population is the only correct evidence of his civilization�. E. Briffault (1846)


ď ś Social and cultural anthropology underlies the symbolic importance of food. There exists a complex link between the production of food and its consumption. ď ś Memory and food are still connected thanks to particular events such as Carnival.


ď ś There is a possible relationship between the habits of killing pig for pork meat and Carnival. ď ś Some quotes mention that the people who had not a pork for Carnival, were unhappy during the celebration because they could not properly enjoy the special celebration.


 From an anthropological point of view mask it’s very important because they became a way to protect one’s identity.


ď ś Masks were often associated to magical rites because the primitive men used their mask as a kind of artificial face to carry on their metamorphosis into a new spirit.


ď ś In the past also the hat had an important mean: it is a pre Christian concept which wore a hat could become more intelligent.


 A man could not live without his personal mask, so Oscar Wilde said: “Every man tells lies, but if you give him a mask he could be truthful”.


YOUNG STUDENTS IN EUROPE Partners: Istituto Marco Belli di Portogruaro (Italia) Instituto de Enseñanza Secudaria Xesús Taboada Chivite di Verín (Spagna) - VUC di Lyngby, Copenhagen (Danimarca)

Liceo “Marco Belli” di Portogruaro Anno scolastico 2012/2013

Carnival and anthropology  

Presentazione curata dagli studenti del Liceo “Marco Belli” di Portogruaro. Progetto Comenius “Young students in Europe” – anno scolastico 2...