Several countries around the world celebrate the pre-Lenten festival of Carnival/Mardi Gras. In fact, many people travel internationally every year to participate in the festivities. One thing all these festivals have in common is a very colorful assortment of costumes and masks. Forget about the office or that seemingly endless “To-Do” list. Toss aside any worries or concerns and enjoy living in the moment. As the musical artist, Prince, said, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine!”
Carnival Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The crowd goes wild during this high energy, tropical themed extravaganza led by sexy samba dancers, stepping to the beat, arrayed in flamboyantly colored feathers, beads and sequins.
Mardi Gras New Orleans, U.S.A.
Collecting the signature purple, green and gold beads becomes an almost obsessive mission for revelers at Mardi Gras as they enjoy the parades, sample spicy Cajun food, indulge in a cocktail or two, and dance until dawn.
Wooden masks scare away the ghosts and darkness of winter, while bright colors welcome the coming of spring. And of course it wouldn’t be a German celebration without plenty of beer.
Carnival Venice, Italy
The Carnival in Venice is one of the oldest celebrations, featuring elaborate costumes made from lavish fabrics, porcelain masks, and gold leaf accents. This beautiful purple and gold costume has an air of royalty about it. It’s incredibly detailed and is a feast for the eyes.
A great mask is the key to these celebrations. As with Halloween, masks invite the wearers to step out of their comfort zones. When the parties are over, masks become beautiful wall art, decorated with feathers, rhinestones, braided trim, and hand applied designs.
The bold feathers and black trim on this half mask focus the viewer’s attention upon the eyes of the wearer, drawing you in to discover more.
The sheer volume of taupe feathers creates an impressive headdress, accented by the delicate gold lace and embossed details. From a distance this appears to be a half mask, but upon closer inspection, it’s actually a full-face porcelain mask, and the lips have been painted a complementary shade of gold.
Venetian masks are among the most ornate. While meant to be worn, many have become prized collector’s items in the world of art.
If you’re going to wear a mask, why not make a costume to go with it? And don’t forget to accessorize! As an extravagant touch of luxury, many Venetian masks are decorated with genuine gold leaf.
This bride & groom have gone above and beyond in honoring their wedding vows –“Til death do us part…” (lol)
Wearing a full-face mask can get a little uncomfortable. Having a coordinating half mask, as a back up, is a great idea.
This beautiful jester mask is a crafter’s dream, incorporating beading, painting, fabric, braided trim, glitter, and decoupage.
Half masks are readily available and comfortable to wear without the need for special makeup or accessories. They also happen to be very easy to decorate yourself. For step-by-step instructions, please read a previous post, “Who’s Behind the Mask?”
Carnival just might be the adult equivalent of recess on the playground – Come outside and play! Make new friends. Have the time of your life and let’s do it all again next year!
Happy Carnival, Happy Mardi Gras and Happy Crafting!