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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Colombina Decor Aria Half Mask - Pink/Silver at Masks of Venice, £23.40 (about $46 USD Buy it!)

Unless you've been living in a cave, you must know that today, Tuesday the 5th of February, 2008, is Mardi Gras. Based in many beliefs, Mardi Gras is the last day of Carnival before Lent, when for 40 days, the passion of Christ is observed and the faithful give up something they love, some indulgence, for that time.

Colombina Jolly Mardi Gras Half Mask - Black/Pink/Gold at Masks of Venice, £39.00 (about $77 USD. Buy it!)Naso Turco Half Mask - Red/Gold at Masks of Venice, £33.00 (about $65 USD. Buy it!)

The celebration in this country has always been associated with New Orleans, and yet, the Carnival celebrations elsewhere in the world are much older and even bigger. Rio de Janeiro holds a fantastic celebration (one of my all-time favorite films, Black Orpheus, is set in Rio during Carnival and is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice - I recommend it, and you won't be able to get that happy sunrise song out of your head).

Colombina Luxury Half Mask - Gold, from Masks of Venice, £62.00 (about $122 USD. Buy it!)

Liberty Full Mask - Red from Masks of Venice, £100.00 (about $197 USD. Buy it!)
Pulcinella Pittura San Marco Full Mask at Masks of Venice, £65.00 (about $128 USD. Buy it!)

Venice has long had a celebration, although it has been banned and discouraged on and off over the centuries. These days the Carnevale di Venezia is back in vogue and so are its traditional and beautiful masks. The six beautiful masks above are from Masks of Venice, which, oddly, is not in Venice, but Wales. They are made in Venice, however.

My friend Kyle sent me this picture, along with some others, of vintage photos of Carnival around the world. The slide show is here from Slate.com, and, as he says, the shots from Italy "naturally look like stills from a Fellini film."

© John Vink/Magnum Photos

Down in post-Katrina New Orleans, the party must, of course, go on. You can see part of Bourbon Street live here, via Earthcam.com.

Patrick Burke, a photographer and native New Orleanian, has the following two (among other) fabulous photos for sale in his Etsy shop. I think both of them capture
some of the mystique and excitement of Mardi Gras in the Crescent City:

"Cordial and Content," by Patrick Burke. $40 (Buy it!)

I love the purple, green and gold in the background - so very Mardi Gras! And the masks - they impart facial expressions that probably aren't actually under them. Masks during Carnival are a symbol of the spirit - dead or alive. The mix of the sacred and
profane during this celebration may seem contradictory, but all of our "holiday" (a word adapted from"holy day") celebrations are mixed with the pagan.

"Crime and Passion," by Patrick Burke. $40. (Buy it!)

Again, the revelers' masks belie the expressions that may be on their faces - they could be absolutely hammered for all we know. And seeing as it's a 24-hour party in the Quarter right now, they probably are.

Many thanks to Patrick for permission to use his photos. As usual, they're on Etsy, the best e-commerce site on the internet!

1 comment:

chris said...

Great post...you make me wish I was there!