Holidays in Italy

During the winter weeks leading up to Lent (which begins forty days before Easter on Maundy Wednesday) Italy’s streets and piazzas are overtaken by children in costumes throwing confetti and running wild. It’s Carnevale – a modern version of the old Catholic tradition where people indulged one last time before the penitence of Lent when, among other things, they could not eat meat. In fact this explains the presumed origin of the name of the holiday, the Latin expression carnem levare meaning “taking away meat” which throughout the centuries became carne, vale! (goodbye, meat!).