Normally, this weekend would be the height of Carnevale in Acireale, Sicily. Carnevale or Carnival is the period leading up to Ash Wednesday and Lent. In pre-Christian times, this outdoor, spring festival, which took place before the arduous planting season, turned everything topsy-turvy: Masters would become the servents and servents the masters. Revelers would hide their identities (a tradition that still stands, hence the masques and costumes worn to today’s festivals) in order to pair up with clandestine lovers, and political ideas would be satirized and challenged by creative performance-art works. And of course there would have been and still is lots of wine, street food, and sweet indulgences (like cannoli!).
This float pictured (from 2017) illustrates the craftsmanship and planning that goes into Carnevale–townspeople from Acireale (and Sciacca, Sicily too) spend months conceptualizing elaborate papier mâchè displays that provoke conventional ideas and create a spectacle. Needless to say, it still is a big street party and a lot of fun!
Please stay safe this weekend so we can celebrate Carnevale together next year.