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Last updated at 12:50 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Costumes and celebrations: February

The photo

Carnival character in Venice

"I've lived in Venice since I was born, quite a long time ago. I took the picture myself last February, 2009, in Piazza S. Marco, the heart of Carnival."

Mario Lazzarato

About the Venice Carnival

The Venice Carnival is one of the most popular Carnivals in the world, and its origins date back to the 14th century. In those days the Carnival lasted three days, during which the masks worn by people cancelled social differences and servants could not be told apart from lords.

Nowadays the Carnival attracts thousands of tourists and it offers several days of shows, events and street entertainment of any kind. In 2010 Carnival starts on Saturday 6 February and lasts until Tuesday 16th. The date of Carnival changes, depending on when Easter falls. It ends on Shrove Tuesday: the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the start of the Christian time of Lent: a time of prayer and fasting before Easter.

Masks are an important part of Carnival. They are made of leather or papier-mâché and are often decorated with gold leaf, gems and feathers. The most common kind of mask worn at Carnival covers the face from the forehead to the nose and upper cheeks: that way the wearer is disguised, but can still eat, drink and talk!

Your comments

Tell us what you think about this photo. Have you ever visited Venice? What festivals or celebrations are held in your area in February?

You can also email us your photos of traditional February festivals and celebrations.

We'll publish our favourite comments and photos.

Please note that you should only send us your own photos and we can't guarantee to publish all photos submitted.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Nana, Indonesia
great, its make me want to go to venice

Nesreen, Egypt
I hope to visit Venice and see this carnival thank you for your picture

Maribel, Spain
This summer I going to visit Venice because since I was child I want to visit this city!I think you photo is very funny, and cool!=)a great costum!

Hans, Germany
I have never been in Venice but i would visit this city, maybe the next carnival. In Germany the people celebrate carnival in different way, its not exciting like the carnival in Venice but I have heard that the carnival in Berlin is not bad.

Saeed, Dubai
I think its nice pictue and alos nice colours

Anna, Japan
It sounds very interesting!I really want to visit Venice during the carnival and i also would like to wear the traditional costume and the mask!

Shaun Lee, South Korea
I've never seen venice festival. but that mask is very beautiful!!!In korea,there's mask called Tal.About 600years ago,there's Cho-sun dynasty,there are upper and lower classes called Chen-min and Yang-ban.Chun-min uses Tal to satire upper classes

Toan, Viet Nam
that's really interesting.i have never visited venice so i just known about it on internet.it's probably similar to mekong delta in the south of Viet Nam:"people move by boats". But we didn't have carnival.your photo make me interesting!!!!!

Amy, China
I have never visited Venice.But this photo makes me imagine a lot. I hope I can visit Venice one day.we aiso have many interestig costumes ahd celebrations in China.Now,we will spend The Latern Festival with family.Yeah!I can't wait to eat dumplings!

Maher , Kurdistan
through these events and celebrations you can recognize the different costumes and habits of the people in the world. consequently, you understand these people and problems will disappear gradually

Puebla, Mexico
The Venice Carnival sounds nice. Each country has his own costumes and traditions. In many places of Mexico, carnivals are celebrated in different days and ways. The Veracruz and Huejotzingo(a small town) carnivals are very famous

Rokaya, Lebanon
I visited Venice last summer. It was amazing city with a fantastic view of heritage building and quiet sea at dawn. I bought one of these masks .They were attractive to all tourists.I wish to visit it again and join with this carnival.

Elodie, France
In France their are carnivals to, but not in all towns. Me, I do the Dunkerque carnival. I love this event. Every people is disguise. A lot of man are in woman, we wear colorful clothes, umbrella and feather duster, we have rarely mask, but we have a lot of make up. It's in February and March. Their are a day of carnival for all towns of Dunkerque metro, their are carnivals masked-ball. During the carnival, everybody parade in the streets, but they often go in cafe, pub or in houses where people prepare bear, pancakes, pudding... At the end of the day of carnival, in dunkerque, Peoples throw herrings (fishes) from the town hall. After, they do the "rigodon". It's a big crush around the music kiosk.

Gusuyao, China
Yeah! It's really cool.I mean both carnival and masks.I have not celebrate it before .In my country ,we haven't this fistival.But I extremely look forward to participating in it.I believe that must be very funny.I want to sing and dance with wearing a cute or funny or torrible mask.That's must be awfully excited.

Dagoberto, Brazil
It´s really a very nice time, when people of all social classes have the time of their lives round the clock during the period that this very popular party lasts, and some go further their own limits, four, five or even more days. Isn´t it fantastic?

Ester, Spain
the costume is fantastic! i want one of them from next carnival!

José Roberto, Brazil
Nice report, I would like to suggest you to see or check about the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and SĂŁo Paulo, perhaps the greatest open-air spectacle in the world. Interesting to know some portuguese to understand what the lyrics say.

Marta, Spain
NO words, fantastic!!

Felipe, Brazil
Hi, I think so nice this post about the Carnival, but here in Brazil the people usualy use more happy and collorful costumes !!!!And I agree whit another post " the heart of Carnival has in Brasil !!!"

Angelina, Greece
I have visited Venice a long time ago .I'd like to visit it again but at the duration of carnival.I want to feel all this mysterious with the unique traditional costumes and the fantastic masks.In Greece we also celebrated the carnival but it is so different .We used to wear plastic masks and strange clothes or we used to dressed something like babies,old persons ,the men used to dressed like women and the opposite.

Roberi Rita, Argentina
I have never visited Venice, but i´ve heard about its carnival celebaration.In Argentina this festival is also celebrated in february from the 6th to 16th.It attracts many people and tourist also enjoy it. people wear funny and colourful costume and dance along the long streets while spectators take photos or sometimes they are also invited to dance for a moment.A very common thing used to play there, is a kind of spray called "lanza nieve", it is something similar to snow, it is a traditional thing to have fun.For what i read in the venice´s aricle i think it is almost the same way of celebration.

Bottier William, France
I never visited Venice, I had only going to rome last year, and it was amazing. In france, we celebrate the carnival too, but in an other way, we don't have specially a mask, we just disguise ourselves in a famous personnage or figure of a fairy tale or of a movie. We can buy our disguisement in a shop or we can also made it. In france, it's an occasion to express yourself and to play party with your friends, but unfortunately this celebration is disappearing, most peoples in france don't celebrate it. William.

Hyeung Ju Chae, Korea
In this month, koreans have 'Seollal'. That day most people have to visit grandparents and parents house to celebrate New Year's Day. People feast on rice cake soup on the New Year's Day, and wear Hanbok, korea's traditional costumes. They visit the family burial place where families offer sacrifices of traditional food at graves. After all family comes together, they play 'Yoot-no-ri'. It is a game using four wood sticks and game board.

Izavelitha, Peru
Its so cool when you learn about others cultures,because you can see differents kinds of custumes and believe that in this world everyone, every country are unique.. for that reason I want to know more more more... thanks for show us all that happen around the world!! thanks gracias gracias so much.. bye

David, Veracruz Mexico
Hello, I live in Veracruz Mexico, We celebrate carnival too. It will celebrate from febreury 9 to 17. It is a great partyit´s not so old like your carnival, but I consider is great and fantastic. would you like to visit us? I invite you.

Ailen, Argentina
i love carnivals in all their expression.i´m from mendoza, argentina, but i also lived in jujuy, just the same as emilce..i go to jujeño carnival! i love it!

Fiorella Pargoli, Brasil
I'm from Brasil but my father is italian, from Florence. He has lived in Brasil since 1964. So, i am a Brsilian women with a Italian heart ( and blood ). Venice is unbelievable. A really special city and its carnival is splendid, but i have to disagree with you in a point: the heart of the carnival is Rio de Janeiro.

Violeta and Lidia, Spain (Andalucia)
WE spend the last carnival in VEnecia.It was great, we love the people and the costumes were amazing!We enjoy a lot and had a great time overthere :D

Cecilia de Melo, Brazil
I come from a small town in the northeast of Brazil. It's called Maragogipe, and there we have a kind of carnival that researchers say it has its origins in the Carnival of Venice. People dress like the person in the picture and it's a very nice carnival.

Juan Manuel, Spain
It is funny to realise that carnival used to be forbidden in Spain during Generl Franco´s dictatorship; nonetheless, many people managed to skip the prohibition, disguising themselves. This was particularly true in areas of strong Carnival tradition like Santa Cruz in Tenerife, or Cadiz in Andalusia.

Chiyoun, South Korea
I know about the carnival from the television show which talks about culture around the world. I hope I could be there. seems FUN :)In south Korea, we normally have New years's day in february according to lunar calender. (guess smilar with China) This year, the first day of 2010 is 14th and it's my boy friend's birthday.. For me, 14th of Feb has THREE special meanings :)

Sophia, China
I have never know the carnival day.But I think it is fantastic day to relax.

Yeann GrzeĹ›, Poland
This is really intresting.I've never been in Venice but something I've heard about it and I wish my husband would take me there... In Poland, such Carnival doesn't exist. However, we have small fancy-dress parties,but is not comparable with "The Venice Carnival". Similarly, all such parties should end before Ash Wednesday (but nowadays Poland tend to be less Christian and sometimes they last much longer). However, I wish I would be in Venice...

Nadia, Indonesia
in Indonesia we have Jember Fashion Carnival (JFC). It's a fashion carnival held in Jember; east java indonesia. it shows unique fashion performance from several different themes, such as cowboy, punk, gypsy. But i'm sure venice had tremendeous idea of make up and wardrobe.

Emilce, Argentina
I ve watching a lot of festivals in the world, but as you published costumes of this country there are many festivals or celebrations that many people don t know for example talking about February festivals from my country Province of Jujuy, we have "el carnaval jujeño".It consist on celebrate from the"jueves de comadres" or "thursday friends" which celebrate just women dancing a lot then continuing friday,saturday,sunday of parties in everywhere and in my state monday and tuesday nobody works all the people goes to the north,with amazing landscape about the hills and the famous hill of seven colours,and celebrate with groups of people dancing and some of them waring as devils but very funny, and also as we are in summer we play with streamers(various colours),water ballons,talc.Its celebration begins diggin up the "devil" and ends with its inter. For a lot of more informaton find in GOOGLE "CARNAVAL JUJEÑO" or JUJEÑO CARNIVAL...

Tatiana, Russia
It’s interesting to know the traditions of a nation,To take part in a funny congregation.I welcome everybody just to see How amazing Carnival can be.You’ll feel the charming atmosphere of the cityAnd see how beautiful is Venice, how pretty.You’ll wear costumes, masks and entertain,You’ll realize that it was not in vain.

Nihat, Turkey
Life is more better with the festivals...

Irish, Philippines
Lovely!... I always love watching different festivals as it depicts thanksgiving and merry making. A way of showing gratitude from the BLESSINGS recieved all throughout the year just like in the Philippines where almost every month distinct place are so excited and eager for the celebration... People are even preparing a month or two for the festivities. But I'd never had a chance to witnissed international festival just like in Venice, in which I'm sure its one of a kind and presentation that is worth watching coz it only happens once in a lifetime... Viva Venice

Sunhee, Korea
I didn't know about Venice carnival before thank u for ur good informations about carnival.I really want to go to Venice somday.We have a lunar new year in february insted of carniva. we wear Hanbok, traditonal korea costume and make a whis seeing the full moon.

Sara, Spain
Wonderful picture!I've never been to Venice however I would like to go there someday!and also I would like to see this kind of Carnival style, It looks like so interesting!

Tomoko, Japan
I've been to Venice in July last year.It was a very beautiful and attractive place!! But I've never seen the festival, so I'd like to visit once more!In Japan, there is a traditional festivals in February 3rd called 'Setubun', which means 'season division.' In that day, people throw beans in home or outside chanting 'Oniwa uti! Hukuwa soto!'which means 'Demons out! Luck in!' It is a uniqe festival, isn't it?

Narci, Spain
I went to Venice last year. It was fantastic, amazing! I never will forget The Carnival because it is like a big, big coloured party all day. I recommend you Venice in this time. It's the best!

Jenny, Patras, Greece
The Patras Carnival is the largest in Greece. It is more than 160 years old. It runs for a month, usually from the middle of January to the beginning of Lent and includes balls, parades, a treasure hunt and a special children's carnival. It peaks on the last weekend with a fantastic Sunday parade of floats and dancing groups of participants, all dressed up in fancy dress costumes. It all ends in a blaze with the ritual burning of the Carnival King in the harbour and a dazzling display of fireworks. Come and visit us!

Gaalk, Hungary, Budapest
I am from Hungary as u can see, and I would just like to tell u that I really love the Venice Carnival and I would like to go and see the city during the carnival season. I read a lot about the history of Venice and how St. Mark got to be the patron saint of Venice, and I would like to see St. Mark's Cathedral because whenever I went to Venice it was closed.

Sindy, Hong Kong
Venice is one of the most favourite cities! It's a great place with fantastic view. You can really relax there. I went there during summer. If I have a chance, I really want to experience such magic carnival!

Zoe, Taiwan
I am a chicken. So, I got a shock as soon as I saw the photo. The man's eyes are very authoritative and bottomless. However, I am attracted by the ocean and the ancient building. Maybe I'll visit Venice someday.

Pablo and Carla, Canary Islands,Spain
we celebrate a very beautiful carnival dancing,singing and we have a very important festival:Drags queen's festival in Las Palmas!!!!kisses from the islands

Iren, Hungary
I have been to the Venice Carnival once and it was a great adventure. I felt myself in this renaissance "swimming" town as if I were in the 16th century, the buildings, the churches were amazing. Unfortunately it was badly raining and sometimes we couldn't move forward because of the crowd. There were tousends of tourists. In Hungary we have a very fameous and spectacular carnival in Mohács. It is rooted in the history: the town Mohács was occupied by the the turkish army and the natives putted on frightening masks and during the night they banished them. It became a tradition but nowadays the frightening masks have another funktion: the banishing of winter.

Marco, Italy
I love Venice!!! Maybe I saw you last year, do you know?But I'm not sure, there were too masks!!! I live in Padua, a few kilometers far from this beautiful city!Every february I go there by train with my friends or with my parents: you can see a lot of different masks and some of them are so beautiful because of their sparkling colours.Then, here there are a lot of different tipical carnival recipies: frittelle and galani, for example. it's not difficult to prepare them but, if you want to try them, you have to come to Venice..guaranteed!

Hila, Brazil
I'Ve never been to Venice, but we are going to visit in October. I'm from Brazil and we have carnival in February. It used to be very fun. You should visit us someday... You'll really enjoy it.

Chenyin China
It makes me remember Sicchuan Opera Face Cange.I don't know I could describe tihs,in my country it's very famous.It's can change a face in the moment,green,yellow,black and so on.In my opinion,for all I know he is an Indian.Of course,I hope I can go the place.

Tran Ky Tran, Vietnam
Your photo make me impressed! It's just like scary...

Helen, Russia
I've never been to Venice, but we are lucky to celebrate carnival in St. Petersburg too. It lasts for only one day and is not so gorgeous as italian or brazilian ones. But we appreciate it so much!

Ken, Japan
The man in the photo really seems kind of character of the videogame!The festival sounds very interesting.I really want to visit there to see this carnival someday.

Nguyen Hoai Thu, Vietnam
In Vietnam, we don't have any carnivals like that. I wish I could join yours in Italy.

Manuel, Colombia
It is a beautiful mask and a beautiful dress. The masks always involve mystery, so are splendid. I knew Venice in the fall of 2004 and was very impressed. This city is totally different from the others. No cars or planes, is in the water, awesome! In my country we have a carnival in February. It's the Carnival of Barranquilla is colorful. Barranquilla is on the Caribbean coast of Colombia and people dress there thousands of colors and masks and dance in the streets. They are very, very different cultures. Venice very medieval with European customs, hot enough Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast with African and Arab customs. I have not been to any carnival but I want to go to Venice.

Ivan, Mexico
Is very exciting all the things that happend in a Carnaval I love this ativities because in Mexico

Rosehampsh, France
It remembers my stay in Venice five years ago.I have liked being in Venice during Carnival. As we had been walking, disguised people loomed up at any corners of streets. They were proud of showing lovely old and coloured dresses, and everyone in carnaval attire let themselves take photos.So I have a lot of snapshots taken on the spot. They are alive and surprising.On "Piazza San Marco" it's impossible to see closely the details of all these fancy dresses. It's worthy being there at least once in your life, in spite of the crowd.

Gustavo, Brazil
Here in Brazil We celebrate a very famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro. However, we can celebrate it in many cities in Brazil, for example, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. Our carnival starts on 13 February and will last 7 days.Hugs from Brazil!

Thameera, Sri Lanka
Wow, I wish I could visit Venice someday!In Sri Lanka, we don't have any special festival on this month, but we celebrate the Independence day on Feb 4th. It's the day we got independence from England in 1948.

Tsering, India
Long live "The Venice Carnival". keep it up Italy. These kind of festival is good for everybody. You should feel proud of your country. Carnival which started way back in the 14th century, still has life. That is really appreciable. If God permits, I will be there in the future. See you "The Venice Carnival"

Yaslis, Spain
Ok, we are spanish and we celebrate carnival too, but it's a bit different than these. We like a lot the venice carnival and we would like to go one year, it's so interesting and beautiful. Kisses from Spain

David, Brazil
Cool, but everybody must know the carnival in my country, without doubts, in Brazil we have the best carnival the world.

Agnes, China, Guangzhou
I look foward to visiting Venice,which is a wonderful city.Thr carnival there is very famous,and I have known about it since many years ago.I love them so much!

Sylvia, China
Oh,it sounds interesting!Maybe it's a pity that I have never been to Venice. But,I perhaps cannot attend the Venice Carnival in February because,in my country,there is a very important festivals-the Spring Festival.The Spring Festival lasts about two weeks,actually,fifteen days.In these days,the whole family get together, talking, having dinner and touching off the firecracker. Adults should give each children some money pocketed in a red packet.Welcome to China.

Dong-Jin , South Korea
How interesting! I don't think that I have heard that one before. Maybe,because I live in asia. Anyway, I feel like going to the venice festival.

Lina, NZ
Wow, this is really intresting. I love to participate in Venice Carnival one day. I've never been in any kind of carnival in my life. The picture is awsome I love the colours of the custume, rich red and gold, love the black too because it complements the other colours. Thanks for sharing

Aybüke, Germany
First of all I have to say that I like this picture! I would hang up the picture in my room actually :-)And I have been to Venice once - I absolutely loved it! Sometimes it was smelling, but it was not too bad.Well, some people here celebrate Carnival, but not everyone. And to be honest, I don't know when they celebrate it, because I don't celebrate it myself. :-)

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