Next week it will be Carnival here in Europe.
When I was little, Carnival meant confetti, streamers and masked balls. A friend of mine had her birthday always in this period and her dressed up parties are still famous .I dressed up for many years as a Dutch girl
One of the most famous masks was (and still is) Arlecchino, with his colorful costume and black mask. This character was invented in Italy in the 6th century together with many other all playing in the “Commedia dell’arte”. They represented fixed social types, stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado.
To explain to my kids how Carnival is celebrated in Italy, I found this wonderful resource with which I taught them also a bit of Italian geography: http://www.crescerecreativamente.org/2010/01/unita-didattica-il-carnevale-tra.html
All we had to do was:
– print out the pdf
– glue the map of Italy on a cardboard
– cut the images of different characters of commedia dell’arte
– match each character to its region of origin, reading a little description of its typical features.
Arlecchino (Harlequin) the goofy servant from Bergamo;
Colombina the cunning servant engaged to Arlecchino, from Venice;
Pantalone the scroogy merchant from Venice;
Brighella the friend of Arlecchino always ready to prepare tricks and bluffs.
hey have also learned about different carnivals in Italy:
Viareggio with its famous floats of caricatures of famous men in the field of politics, culture or entertainment.
Carnival of Cento. It is the only Italian Carnival twin of the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. Every year the winner of the previous year’s parade goes to Rio to participate to the Brazilian Carnival.
Carnival of Venice with its luxurious masks and private parties.
Carnival of Ivrea, famous for its “Battaglia delle Arance” (fight of the oranges), it is the oldest Carnival in the world and follows traditions that date back to the middle ages. The entire Carnival it is an allegory of the fight for freedom from the town’s tyrant.
I am very happy to have taught my children a bit of traditions of my Country and they had fun to play Arlecchino and Brighella J
Next we will try make some special sweets!