From the very beginning

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Hundreds of years ago, in what is now Venice and its hinterland, in a fight between feudal lords, the Serenissima Republic won an important battle over Ulrico. As part of the symbolism surrounding the defeat, the losing side was made to send a bull and 12 fattened pigs to the victor every year. Needless to say, the animals met a gory end and were made unwilling participants of a feast that developed into the Venice carnival.

Year on year, this carnival continued till it became a time of joyous celebration for the Venetians. In fact there is much evidence on record to show that the carnival of eating and merry making often descended the depths of debauchery and much else besides. The oldest document on record about the carnival is dated 2nd May 1268. It specifically mentions the things that masked revelers must not do during the carnival. Life was certainly not much fun then!

In fact, things seem to have reached a limit in the 14th and 15th centuries. So much so that Venice promulgated laws that prohibited menfolk from entering convents dressed in masks and banned wearing masks at night. Failure to follow the laws meant a minimum of two years in jail, a fine of 500 lire and 18 months of rowing a galley as a slave - phew! You were somewhat better off if you were a woman. You only got whipped all the way from St Mark's Square to the Rialto!

How many survived this kind of treatment is not recorded, but I doubt if many did!

It was only in the 18th century that masks were allowed again. Even then with a lot of restrictions. You could not wear a mask to the casino, wearing it to a convent was taboo and wearing it in a church was quite out of question. Today, however, the mask is symbol of Venice itself and is probably one of the most exported curios. A mask is certainly a must have curio that every tourist invariably buys.

The carnival ends just as Lent begins. The last day of the carnival marks a major change in Venice. You cannot imagine that just a day ago the city was filled with celebrating tourists and locals, all in the best of finery, dancing and walking in the streets showing off their masks.

You are of course a little late for this year's carnival. But if you like to plan early, you can book your flight to Venice for 25 Jan 2008 and plan to return on 5 Feb 2008. That is when the next carnival is slated. Revel in the carnival mood until then.

Carnivals tour holiday - sounds great

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If you want to have fun for one low price, all you need is a Carnival cruise. A Carnival cruise is a perfect way to pamper yourself. You don't have to worry about paying extra for meals, entertainment and a range of activities. You just unpack once on the cruise ship. You are in the capable hands of fitness experts having massages, loofah treatments, hairstyles, saunas, pedicures, applying soothing masks and micro-facelifts, there is a complete relaxation schedule for you with nautical spas, and the exercise programs.

Carnival plays every song- from hard rock, musicals, country music or big band. There is a sing-along piano for you to hum along. Compare it to the land vacation where you are constantly involved with the buying theater tickets, reservations, valet parking and looking for other things to do.

Carnival cruise is the most popular cruise in the whole world. With carnival you dine, dream and dance as you sail from one foreign destination to the other. It's popular with first time cruisers, young singles, couples, old and young loving the party atmosphere. The Carnival cruise highlights include- casual dinner at Sea View Bistro, a convenient 24-hour pizzeria, captain's cocktail party and gala dinner, complimentary 24-hour room service, camp carnival for kids and teens. In addition to this get to see daily first run movies, dazzling Las Vegas style casino, fine dining with Gala midnight buffets, Nautical spa program, outdoor swimming pools and whirlpools, onboard duty-free shopping and singles cocktail party.

Carnival is an entertainment saga for singles, couples and families and it carries more passengers from all age group on board than any other cruise line. You can enjoy a lavish evening in the two levels Paris Lounge or you can rock and roll in the Rock and Roll dance club, the Café des Artistes and the Monte Carlo Casino. You have stepped into sheer luxury with spacious and comfortable accommodations. All the staterooms are fully carpeted with closet space, private facilities (toilet, basin and shower), and color television screening first-run films. All the staterooms on these super liners are above the ocean level for a better-relaxed cruise. Carnival staterooms are fifty percent larger on average than other cruise lines. You get one hundred percent personal care whether you choose interior or ocean view suite or penthouse suite.

You can give your kids a fun holiday with all kind of games, talent shows parties, movies, crafts, arts, and a world of fun under the supervision of camp carnival counselors. All the counselors are college educated having professional childcare experience and your kids are secure under their competent hands.

If for some reason you are not satisfied with the cruise experience you can notify carnival ahead of coming at the first port of call and you may well get down at first non-US port of call of your ship. Carnival cruise will reimbursement the unutilized part of your cruise charge and compensate for your return flight fare. You can look at carnival cruise vacation protection plans for a worry-free vacation.

Carnival serves buffet on the deck. There is teatime with your favorite beverage and pastries. Moreover, you can place order for complimentary stateroom service 24-hours a day. Your table is always reserved in the dining room. However, you may also eat dinner in the restaurant "Sea View Bistro" on Lido deck. The attire is informal and the meals are buffet style. The restaurant has an open seating and is rather laid back. Of course, if you are calorie conscious carnival has wide Nautical Spa selections with every meal. All the menus have been prepared with the consultation of dietitians. You can have the fresh oven pizzas at the 24-hour pizzeria. There is live music playing at the dazzling spirit lobby. You may like to enjoy your drinks with close friends at the bar.

Some good things to know about carnivals

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The word carnival comes to us from the Latin "carne vale", which means either "farewell to the flesh" or "farewell to meat", and is most often associated with the pre-lenten Catholic festivals when the pleasures of the world are indulged before meat, wine, women and song were renounced for the 40 days of Christian Lent.

Some believe that carnival celebrations spread through Europe with the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Bacchanalia, form which the word bacchanal comes. Others believe that the Catholic Church harnessed ancient pagan fertility rights which date back to an earlier time, perhaps even our passage through the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, or to mans journey out of Africa.

Traveling Carnivals in Britain

What ever it's exact source, the word "carnival" today means many different things, and is celebrated in many different ways. In the United Kingdom, and some parts of Europe and North America, a carnival is a traveling circus (a Latin word associated with exotic animal acts and Roman gladiatorial games), which has a variety of rides, and games. The most noteworthy of those amusement being the carousel, or merry-go-round, on which children ride prancing horses and all manner of strange beasts, to the accompaniment of now traditional calliope music.

The Karnevals of Europe

Today, many other parts of Europe celebrate Carnivals with processions, floats, merry making, masked balls, fireworks and other assorted amusements. Chief among these are the carnivals or karnevals of Belgium, Rijeka in Croatian, Cyprus, the Masopust festival in the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Patras in Greece, Mohace in Hungary, Viareggio in Italy, Venice, Malta, Poland, and Spain. Paris was also well know for it carnival celebrations prior to the French Revolution.

Carnival in the New World

In the New World carnivals sprang up where European Catholics meet enslaved Africans, who themselves had long standing traditions of masking, speech making, singing, and dancing to mark important occasions. In these cultural crucibles carnivals took on the individual character allowed it by circumstance, events, popular demand, official dictates, and religious constraints.

In Rio, everything stops but the clock for 4 days. Every Theater, nightclub, and street corner becomes a dance hall for the confetti-bedecked subjects of King Momo. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is famous for trinket throwing revelers, parade floats, and overt sexuality. Carnivals in Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador and some cities in Mexico took on their own flavors, as did carnivals in the Bahamian islands and throughout the Caribbean. Of these last, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival lead the region by inventing the steel band, which today is associated with all tropical island vacations; birthing Soca, the new sound of the Caribbean; developing costume design to new heights; and becoming a mecca for merry making with carnival celebrations that have been described as the greatest street party in the world.

Reintroducing Carnival to Europe

Today, New World style carnivals, particularly the carnival and Soca music of Trinidad and Tobago, have followed Caribbean and South American immigrants to North American cities like Boston, Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago's Caribbean style carnivals have also found fertile ground wherever Caribbean immigrants took up residence in Europe and Britain. Carnival has now come full circle, and Europe's largest street fair is the Notting Hill Carnival in London, England.

Carnival isn't just loud music and shiny outfits - it's pure tradition

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Derived from the word carnovale meaning 'to put away the meat', Carnival is a traditional celebration dating back hundreds of years to a Catholic practice of celebration the first day of Lent with a celebration the night before. As Catholics are not meant to consume meat or other animal products during the period of Lent, carnovale became the name applied to the festival of using up all remaining meat and animal products before the period of fasting began. This forbiddance is believed to be responsible for the association of eggs with Easter at the end of Lent

As the carnivals in Italy became more famous and known about, they spread through Spain and France to all Catholic countries. As the Spanish and Portuguese began to explore the Americas they took and integrated the practise of celebrating carnival with them. The next big influence on carnival was the slave trade and the impact of the African cultures.

African traditions of parading in circles through villages whilst wearing costumes and masks was believed to bring good fortune and drive away evil spirits returning them to the next world. Carnival has borrowed from these African traditions through the use of costumes and masks. The early costumes and masks used natural objects to create the costume/mask with each representing a spiritual force. The African influence extends to the use of drum rhythms, puppets, stilt walkers all now fully integrated in Carnival.

Across the world where Catholic colonies were established and the slave trade entered into, carnival remains strongest. Brazil, once a Portuguese colony holds a world-renowned carnival as does Louisiana where African-Americans mixed with the French settlers and indigenous Americans. Carnival celebrations are now integral to life across the Caribbean.

Carnival has become extended into a season with the celebration ending on Mardi-Gras. This is the cross-over between Carnovale (farewell the meat) and Mardi-Gras (Fat Tuesday - from the French). Both are celebrated, in their truest sense, the day before Lent commences on Ash Wednesday. 'Fat Tuesday' and Carnovale are therefore the last opportunity to celebrate before fasting begins. Mardi-Gras, Carnovale are also known as 'Shrove Tuesday' or 'Pancake Day' which is all that survives of Carnival following the Reformation in England.

The Mardi-Gras season officially starts on Twelfth Night which occurs 12 days after Christmas with Mardi-Gras day being 46 days before Easter. Today the whole Carnival season is marked by celebrations, parties, dance and music. Most celebrations and parties involve the wearing of costumes usually brightly coloured. Visit Karnival-House for a great range of fancy dress costumes for all occasions.

Your own carnival

Admin

Why have a carnival theme party? Because carnivals were created for the kid in all of us, and that makes it the perfect theme for a party! Bright colors, balloons, clowns, and games combine to create a festive celebration that kids of all ages will enjoy. Hosting a carnival party is easy if you take the time to plan. Recruiting friends as volunteers can also be a great way to share the fun and help ensure the success of your event.

Here are a few easy tips for planning and hosting a carnival theme party.
Enlist Help

Talk to friends and loved ones that you can enlist to help you with your carnival. While the process will not necessarily be difficult, it is always easier to throw a party if you have back up assistance for setting up and running the different activities involved with a three ring circus! Having other adults at a party can not only be a great support, but also a lot of fun.

Invites

Invitations set the tone for your party and can be a great way to get people excited about the event before it even starts. Send out your invitations two to three weeks in advance of your party so that you give your guests plenty of notice. Be sure to include your party's date, time, location, and an RSVP so that you'll know how many people to expect.

Decorations

Carnival decorations are brightly colored, festive, and fun. If you want to go all out, you might consider setting up a large canopy tent. However, you could always hang crepe paper streamers from a central point on the ceiling to achieve an inexpensive circus tent look. Colorful balloons, tableware, popcorn boxes, and giant swirly lollipops are all great decorating items that can help give your party a carnival atmosphere.

Games

Set up several game and entertainment booths for your guests. Possible games include a ring toss, face painting, cake walk and a water balloon toss. If you are having a party for younger children, consider pin the tail on the donkey, bowling, and floating rubber ducks. You could also schedule some group games such as relay races or musical clown noses (played like musical chairs). Try to organize the games so that everyone can win at least a small prize.

Contests

You can set up many different contests for your carnival theme party. Best costume, talent show, and pie eating are all kid favorites and very easy to organize. Set up a panel of judges for the talent and costume contests, and come up with a range of award categories (such as funniest, most creative, most unusual, etc.) so that everyone goes home a winner.

Conclusion

Imagination and creativity are the building blocks of a good kid's party. If your budget allows, you might liven up the day by hiring a magician, a petting zoo, or a clown, but that is merely the icing on the cake. With a little ingenuity and planning you can create a fabulous carnival party your kids will never forget. On with the show!

Good Cause - Good Idea

Admin

It's a great time to offer creative fundraising that will bring your community together. Something fun for the kids, and that the teenagers can help with can make carnival fundraising your most successful fundraiser ever.

It will be important to get organized and get the involvement and active support of your group members when running a carnival fundraiser. There will be many different aspects to manage from tickets, activities, entertainment, food, location and more. As the organizer, you can delegate different groups to come up with plans and execute each of these different elements of your carnival fundraiser.

Some ideas for booths that you could have at your carnival include the following: a cake walk booth, an apple dunking contest, face painting, musical chairs and more. It is great if you have group members who can offer their talents either artistic, cooking, musical or other to create enticing booths that offer activities or services to those attending the carnival.

You can involve more than group by inviting the whole community to come to the carnival - this is a great way to generate more profit and to have the opportunity to interact with other groups in the community.

Food and drink sold at the carnival can be donated by local businesses. Parents of team or group members can also donate goods or services or their time to make the carnival fundraiser a success. Another option for added profits at your carnival fundraiser is to have a Spinners booth where people Spin the wheel of the Spinners fundraiser and donate the amount shown on the wheel - it's a small amount and in exchange they get a sheet of valuable coupons. This could increase your carnival profits dramatically!

 
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