The history of masquerade balls

[:en][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Everyone loves the idea of a good party. Attending a festivity that is reeking of music, dance, alcohol and costumes as you let your hair down and cut loose. This is what happens at a masquerade ball. Regardless of how formal, elite or how much money was spent on a lavish gala in past history, partying and having a good time meant that the occasion was going to get a little wild as people become uninhibited behind their mask and costumes.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]If you have ever been invited to a masquerade ball; the first thing you will notice is the key objective to such a festive occasion… that of hiding one’s identity behind an elaborate costume and a masquerade facial mask.

Long ago, in the 15th century, a masquerade function was known as a carnival, and this kind of event or celebration took place at weddings and social affairs within medieval societies. The costume extravaganza consisted of parades and pageants for the elite of the medieval era, including the participation of members of the medieval court, who also dressed up in disguise as they partied.

Masquerades include lots of music and dancing. They are used for entertainment purposes as well as in celebrating rituals, such as the rites of passage and speaking to the dead as in the African tradition and cultural heritage. These big lavish parties always took place in the evening and the environment was that of gaiety, and the other things that made it so gay were the eating, drinking and gambling.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Masquerade balls were extended into costumed public festivities in Italy during the 16th century Renaissance (Italian, maschera). They were generally elaborate dances held for members of the upper classes, and were particularly popular in Venice. They have been associated with the tradition of the Venetian Carnival. With the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the use and tradition of masks gradually began to decline, until they disappeared altogether.

Masquerade ball at Château de Hattonchâtel, France.
They became popular throughout mainland Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, sometimes with fatal results. Gustav III of Sweden was assassinated at a masquerade ball by disgruntled nobleman Jacob Johan Anckarström, an event which Eugène Scribe and Daniel Auber turned into the opera Gustave III. The same event was the basis of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera A Masked Ball, although the censors in the original production forced him to portray it as a fictional story set in Boston. Most masks came from countries like Switzerland and Italy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][:]

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