Masquerade have been a part of rituals and ceremonies for centuries. Mostly, they are associated with spiritual activities. In ancient Greek traditions, masks were significant in the worship of their gods. In his book ‘Brida’, Paulo Coelho has associated masks with rituals followed by witches and wizards. Dan Brown’s famous work “Da Vinci Code”, tells how people belonging to secret societies incorporate masks in their practices.
A few ancient theatre traditions included masked performances. Masks were used to create a sense of fear and curiosity among the audience. The masks allowed the actors to appear in different roles, without the audiences identifying them.
The most famous tradition of masks is seen at the carnival of Venice, which is world famous for its detailed and fancy portrayal of masks. Over 3 million people come to Venice to see this unique and beautiful tradition. The history of carnival dates back to the 12 th century until it was halted in 1797 by King of Austria. The government decided to bring back this culture of Venice in 1979, and it continues till date.
Several types of masks are worn in this carnival, each
having unique characteristics:
Bauta, Colombina, Medico Della Peste (The Plague Doctor), Moretta/Servetta muta, Volto (Larva).