The festival itself is thought to have derived from the ancient Roman 'baccanali', celebrations during which drunken revellers would walk around the city with their faces painted whilst singing, yelling and performing pranks. Tricks and pranks are still an integral part of Carnevale, hence the saying 'a carnevale ogni scherzo vale', meaning that during carnival time any kind of mischief can be expected! The 'Carnevale di Misterbianco' is famous for its wonderful costumes such as that in the image below - modelled on the Amazon Rainforest!
The large colourful floats are also thought to have taken root from ancient Roman times when citizens would hold a festival called Saturnalia to honour the god Saturn, in the hope of achieving a fruitful harvest. During this festival parades of floats carrying masked girls and boys would go along the streets and this tradition is still evident throughout Italy. The 'Carnevale di Acireale' in Sicily is world famous for the colourful paper maché floats that pass through the town and each year there is a competition for the best and most original. For those of you who have never been to a Sicilian 'Carnevale' here is Acireale's promotional video for this year to give you an better idea :-) -
Buon Carnevale a tutti!! Enjoy. A presto,