Today is Mardi Gras people, or as they would say in Italian, Martedi Grasso. Much like we do back in Southeast Texas, the week leading up to Carnivale is spent attending parades, having parties, and partaking in good-natured, albeit, mischievous behavior.
My Carnivale experience started a few weeks ago when I noticed costumes for sale in the stores. They were not, however, on SALE as discontinued past-season Halloween costumes, and instead of reliving my cultural misinterpretation of the past, I asked Peppe about them. Apparently, the kiddos here in Italy dress up for Carnivale to conceal their true identities, hence the mini Texano walking down the street last night.
This weekend I went to see the Carnivale Parade at Lido with Peppe’s cousin, Luca and his friend, Mario. For a few moments I felt right at home. There was confetti on the streets, music booming, and a lot of good energy in the air. There were, however, many things worth noting that were different from our Mardi Gras celebrations back home.
At one point, the parade stopped moving, and we walked down the street to see the action. What we saw was a stationary Carnivale Float displaying a “dead” man. This was a big attraction. Lots of people…I don’t get it, either.
A little further down the lungomare I heard the Bee Gees bellowing from a different stationary float
Whether you’re a brother
Or whether you’re a mother,
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
Feel the city breakin’
And ev’rybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha,
Ah, ha, ha, ha…..
Though all of these experiences were memorable, one memory I fear will be stamped on my mind for a long, long time. Sunday morning we went to church. About half-way through Mass, I see a flash out of the corner of my right eye. (I don’t have very good perifial vision, folks, so this is saying a lot.) Well, this black spark of movement catches my attention, and evidently, the attention of many other church-goers. As I turn, I see a long black cape flying in the self-made wind of a miniature masked Zorro. He runs, arms spread wide up the center aisle before making an abrupt right turn into his less-than-happy, but appropriately embarassed father. Once Dad has Zorro back in his seat, we hear a loud cry, only to look up and see Mom chasing an 18-month-old Ladybug to the back of the church.
And, that is where we are today. Farewell to Friday meat Fest, Farewell to overindulgence of sweets or sodas, or whatever else you choose to forgo for the next 40 days…Farewell to Fantasy…Hello Spring!