Carnival or Carnevale is originally derived from carnem (meat) and levare (remove) in Latin, the festival of Carnevale marks the beginning of Lent (the start of the 40 days before Easter), a Christian celebration marked by fasting and abstinence (often from meat and other luxuries). As I child I often gave up sweets or chocolate as is the custom in Ireland. This is celebrated at the end of lent with Easter and (importantly for me) with chocolate Easter Eggs! I love Easter Eggs! However, here in Italy there is a great deal more emphasis put on the beginning rather than the end of Lent. While there are famous Carnivals held in Venice, Viareggio, and Ivrea, every town and city in Italy holds its own celebrations with children in costumes and some adults as well. There is a great atmosphere with mimes, music and sparklers with a lot of paper confetti litters the streets afterwards.
Now that this day is over I am counting down the days until I can legitimately buy my Easter Eggs!