Venice carnival: Masked revellers celebrate city’s festival

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST 13 Photos
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Revellers pose in Saint Mark’s Square during the Venice Carnival. The festival famous for its elaborate masks, is the carnival with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Revellers pose in Saint Mark’s Square during the Venice Carnival. The festival famous for its elaborate masks, is the carnival with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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A reveller dressed in masks takes part at the Venice Carnival. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

A reveller dressed in masks takes part at the Venice Carnival. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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A woman dressed as an ‘angel’ descends on Saint Mark's Square during the Venice Carnival. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

A woman dressed as an ‘angel’ descends on Saint Mark's Square during the Venice Carnival. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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Tens of thousands of revellers in masks and period costume packed St Mark’s Square for the “flight of the angel”, the traditional opening of the Venice Carnival. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

Tens of thousands of revellers in masks and period costume packed St Mark’s Square for the “flight of the angel”, the traditional opening of the Venice Carnival. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The event includes a beauty pageant winner, dressed in carnival costume, descending from the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

The event includes a beauty pageant winner, dressed in carnival costume, descending from the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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Many don masks and elaborate costumes to join in with the many events taking place across town. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Many don masks and elaborate costumes to join in with the many events taking place across town. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The ceremony used to be called “The Flight of the Turk” and dates back to five centuries ago. Back then, a young Turkish acrobat walked a tightrope stretched from a ship, anchored at the pier of St. Mark’s Square, all the way to the top of the St. Mark’s bell tower. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The ceremony used to be called “The Flight of the Turk” and dates back to five centuries ago. Back then, a young Turkish acrobat walked a tightrope stretched from a ship, anchored at the pier of St. Mark’s Square, all the way to the top of the St. Mark’s bell tower. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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Carnival madness first began centuries ago as a period of excess before the rigors of Lent, the 40 days of fasting that traditionally precede Easter. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

Carnival madness first began centuries ago as a period of excess before the rigors of Lent, the 40 days of fasting that traditionally precede Easter. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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A carnival-goer waits for the Flight of the Angel which is the official opening of the Venice Carnival. (Andre Merola / AP)

A carnival-goer waits for the Flight of the Angel which is the official opening of the Venice Carnival. (Andre Merola / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The carnival was a pressure valve to ease class tensions, allowing the poor, for a brief and controlled period, to break Venice’s rigid, oligarchical social order. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

The carnival was a pressure valve to ease class tensions, allowing the poor, for a brief and controlled period, to break Venice’s rigid, oligarchical social order. (Alessandro Bianchi / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The use of masks in Venice has several historic origins. In the 18th century masks were used by noblemen in order to keep anonymity whilst voting on council matters. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The use of masks in Venice has several historic origins. In the 18th century masks were used by noblemen in order to keep anonymity whilst voting on council matters. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The Carnival was first held in Venice in the 11th century and consisted of over two months of revelry, until it fell into decline during the 18th century. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The Carnival was first held in Venice in the 11th century and consisted of over two months of revelry, until it fell into decline during the 18th century. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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The carnival was revived in 1979 with great success and nowadays it is a good excuse to don a mask and costume, parade around the city and enjoy the live music in the main squares of the city. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The carnival was revived in 1979 with great success and nowadays it is a good excuse to don a mask and costume, parade around the city and enjoy the live music in the main squares of the city. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 04:28 PM IST
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