Venetian masquerade masks – wrap your identity and have fun

May 14, 2014

Venetian style masquerade masks are very popular today. People wear these masks for Halloween, Mardi Gras, or New Year’s Eve. Using an elegant Venetian mask when you dress for such an event is both classy and classic. But where did these masks come from? And where can you find one today?  Here are some tips on Venetian masquerade masks.

Venetian masquerade masks

Venetian masquerade masks

How the masks came to be

During the Middle Ages in Venice, the society was very stratified, with upper and lower classes rarely mingling. People were quite religious, and there were strict rules about how people in the upper classes were expected to behave. The Carnival in Venice was their equivalent of our modern Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was the period right before Lent. Everyone wanted to go wild during Carnival, before they had to sober up for the deprivation of Lent. The problem was those strict rules. If you were seen drunkenly singing or sneaking off with one of the servants, it would be frowned upon, to say the least.

This was the foundation for the tradition of masks. A member of the nobility could put on one of these masks during Carnival, and then party however they wanted. The mask gave them anonymity, so that nobody could accuse them the next day of behaving badly. During the eighteenth century, wealthy people in Europe liked to travel. It was common that some members of the nobility would come to Venice during the Carnival. They would discover this means of engaging in all their fantasies without anyone being the wiser. Thus the masks were spread to other parts of Europe, and then the world.

Venetian mask

Venetian mask

Venetian masquerade masks today

The Carnival of Venice is still a world famous event that draws tourists from around the world. Venice is a magical place at any time, but when everyone is in costume and you are surrounded by these fantastic beings, it is a unique experience. The masquerade masks are just as popular now as they ever were.  Whenever you visit Venice, you will see beautiful handmade masks on sale – elaborate works with rich fabrics, feathers, and jewels. Of course, they are now sold worldwide, as well. You can even have a mask specially handcrafted for you, to meet your exact specifications.

Today’s modern parties involving masquerade masks are still mysterious. Some people would rather cover their faces and hide their identities just to have a good time. These masks are not just fashionable during a costume party; they’re also puzzling and quite appealing for shy strangers looking to meet up and start a conversation.

How to choose your masquerade mask

First of all, think about the event and what would be most appropriate. Is it an elegant event, or something more casual? Is there a theme for the party? Is there a specific color combination you want, either to match the theme or to match your outfit? If you can’t find something in a particular color, you can always go with black, white, gold and silver – common colors for Venetian masks.

Venetian style masquerade masks

Venetian style masquerade masks

What kind of design do you want? Do you want something that covers the full face, or just half the face?  The former makes it harder for people to recognize you, but the latter is cooler and more comfortable.  A mask on a stick is also a possibility, but thinks about whether you want to carry it around. Next, consider the material that goes into the mask.  The cheapest masks are made of plastic. These are inexpensive, but tend to be uncomfortable, and don’t last long.  Papier mache masks are lightweight, and can be comfortable. Leather will be heavier and warmer, which is fine for cold-weather parties.

Are you ready for a memorable celebration? Whether you’re getting ready for a fun Mardi Gras party with friends, or you’ve just been invited to an exclusivist costume party, the key to making your costume stand out is to be confident. Own your wardrobe and have a good time. Masquerade parties are quite intriguing; not knowing who’s behind a mask is baffling, and that anonymity makes people so fond of these puzzling celebrations. Are you ready to mingle with strangers and have the greatest time?

By Jason Phillips and!

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