The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks.
Masks have always been an important feature of the Venetian carnival. Traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano and the end of the carnival season at midnight of Shrove Tuesday.
As masks were also allowed on Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large portion of the year in disguise. Maskmakers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.
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