Carnival in Oltrepò Pavese

Fritters, “chiacchiere”, masks and events: find out where you can celebrate the most entertaining time of the year

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Carnival has very ancient roots. The origin of the name is thought to derive from the Latin carnes levare, meaning "to remove the meat" referring to the period, in Catholic countries, of Lent where the consumption of meat was prohibited, or from car navalis, which refers to the rite of the sacred ship carried in procession on a chariot.
Beyond the origin of the name, the celebrations of the Italian carnival derive from those of ancient Rome, where pagan rites were celebrated in honor of the gods. Among these we find the Saturnalia which took place in the period between 17 and 23 December, in honor of Saturn, god of sowing, where the gifts of the earth were celebrated with banquets and where the exchange of hierarchical roles was allowed, between nobles and plebeians, through the use of masks, to get away from obligations and to devote themselves to fun. During this period the Roman tables abounded with sweets called frictilia which correspond to the current “chiacchiere”.

Today, in Italy, the carnival that is celebrated between the months of February and March, depending on when Easter falls, is seen as an opportunity to get away from reality and dress up as who you would want to be.
Walking around the villages during this holiday brings joy and amazement. We find the parades of floats that represent figures, making fun of current themes or simply lighter themes, such as representations of characters taken from children’s stories. Creativity is not shown only by those who make the allegorical floats, but also by people and families who in a moment of fun give vent to their imagination, creating nice costumes and masks. Younger people are those who have the most fun and who dare with the disguise as a couple or in groups, participating in parties and festivals.
Among confetti, colors and streamers you are accompanied by the scent and taste of typical sweets, including frittes and “chiacchiere” (carnival fried pastries), sold in the streets of the town, and by the shouts of happiness given by children. Italy is one of the most beautiful countries where you can spend this festivity, as it can boast the presence of some of the most beautiful carnivals in the world.

Carnival is an opportunity to be crazier, happier and as the saying goes "at carnival every joke is worth"!

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Publication date
21 February