Carnival in Acireale (Catania)
8 dates from February 4th to 21st 2023 for the most famous Carnival in Sicily.
From February 4th to 21st 2023, the Carnival in Acireale is considered the most beautiful one in Sicily.
The Carnival in Acireale takes place on 8 dates:
– on the weekends of 4-5 and 11-12 February
– and from 18 to 21 February 2023.
The allegorical wagons, composed of colourful paper-mâché masks and decorated with flowers, wander in the main streets of Acireale, a typically Sicilian Baroque style town.
The evening of Mardi Gras, the last day, the Carnival closes with the awarding of the most beautiful wagons and with a big explosion of fireworks.
The active participation of people is a distinctive element since the first beginning in 1500 when Carnival was the unique period when the populace had the freedom to mock the powerful rulers of that time.
One of the first masks of Acireale’s Carnival, that stimulated the inclination to satire, was “l’Abbatazzu” also called Pueta Minutizzu, a person who mime nobles or ecclesiastics by bringing a big book and pretended to read it, sentencing satirical and teasing jokes.
In 1600 the battle with oranges and rotten eggs became a custom. This habit became so intrusive that in 1612 the Criminal Court issued the interdiction of this practice because of the damages caused to things and people.
At the end of 1600, the Carnival event was suspended because of the earthquake that involved Eastern Sicily. The celebration restarted in 1700 when 2 new masks were created: “U baroni” (the baron) and “I Manti”.
In the 19th century, the “Cassariata” (Landò’s parade) was invented in which the city’s nobles threw comfits from the wagons towed by horses.
The masks’ parade dates back to the 30’s and by the time the masks were substituted with allegorical wagons (which originally were towed by oxen).
In 1934 it has been published a satirical newspaper that is edited just during the days of the Carnival.
Since the 90’s the Carnival is organized from Acireale’s Municipality.
Since 2010 the Carnival in Acireale is combined with Viareggio Carnival.
Two important recognitions:
In 1948 the Carnival in Acireale obtained the title of “the most beautiful Carnival in Sicily”, thus being one of the most important in Italy and in the world.
In 2006 it won the European award Alberto Sargentini by the foundation of the same name in Viareggio.
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(photo by flli Cavallaro facebook page Acireale Carnival)