Carnival season can be a wonderful time to visit the cities, towns and villages all over Italy. With processions, masks, colours, music, dancing and special foods to eat, who wouldn’t want to take part?
It’s a time to enjoy oneself, get lost in celebration and forget about the pressures of everyday life. This can be seen in one of the most popular Italian expressions about carnival. ‘A carnevale ogni scherzo vale’ means that during carnival, anything goes. Any fun practical joke or prank during carnival season is just fine.
So, say you want to play a trick on your friend this month. Your friend isn’t too impressed, but you try and appease them by saying:
Non te la prendere. A carnevale ogni scherzo vale!
Don’t get annoyed. Everything goes at carnival time!
There are silly variants too, like ‘a carnevale ogni scherzo vale, e chi si offende è un gran maiale’ – Anything goes during carnival and anyone who gets offended is a big pig!
Let’s also look at some useful words when talking about carnivals in Italy:
La maschera – mask
Il costume – costume
La parucca - wig
La sfilata – parade
Il carro – float
La stella filante – streamer
Lo scherzo – joke
La festa – party
A false friend
And finally, watch out for a false friend. In Italian, confetti is not what you may think …
‘I confetti’ in Italian are sugared almond sweets we eat at weddings and christenings. Whereas ‘I coriandoli’ are coloured pieces of paper thrown in celebration, such as at carnival time. Don’t get these two mixed up!
Have fun and buon carnevale a tutti!