Students celebrated the Italian Carnevale with masks and cannoli

Students celebrated the Italian Carnevale with masks and cannoli


Written by Nana Aisyah

A group of 31 Northeastern students gathered in Curry’s Center of Intercultural Engagement (CIE) Feb. 22 to participate in the Venetian mask workshop. Sponsored by Northeastern’s Italian Club (NUIC), Office of Global Services and CIE, students learned about the history of the Italian Carnevale, decorated their own masks and indulged in Italian cannolis.

“The Italian Carnevale, which is held annually in Venice, ends 40 days before Easter and is a key element of the history and culture of Venice,” said Marco Addezio, fourth-year biology major and president of the NUIC.

Addezio explained that these masks feature historical craftsmanship and gilded designs which are either decorative, symbolic of one’s class hierarchy or mean to serve a practical purpose.

“The Carnevale is famous for its elaborate masks. There is a big focus on the masks’ colors, color schemes, and a lot of them have different meanings,” Addezio said. “Historically, they were depicting of social status, of class and of occupation.”

Photo Credit Nana Aisyah

Addezio explained that there are different kinds of masks. The bauta is a mask that is designed to cover one’s face completely, which preserves their anonymity allows the wearer to drink or eat comfortably. The moretta mask, which is held in place by the wearer, thus making them unable to speak, was generally worn by women. Today, this mask is no longer in use because of its oppressive nature. The medico della peste (the plague doctor) is a mask that was worn during the spread of the plague in the 17th century. It’s hollow beak allowed the wearer to stuff it with herbs that would help filter out viruses from entering the nose.

After the presentation, students began to paint and decorate their chosen masks. They started with blank, white masks and after painting them with their desired colors and patterns, gold embellishments, stickers and feathers were incorporated to further adorn their masks.

Bhargavi Padhya, a first-year graduate student majoring in computer science said the superhero character Deadpool inspired her mask design, painting her mask  black and red. Padhya said she enjoyed the event because she got to learn about Italy’s culture.

“I really enjoyed the painting process and the food. It was my first time eating cannoli. It was really sweet but too creamy,” Padhya said.

Ruturaj Nene, another first-year graduate student majoring in computer science was lucky to be able to attend the event because he was wait-listed as he tried to register.

“I read about [this event] through the News at Northeastern email. At that point of time, the registration was full,” Nene said. “I inquired about it to Office of Global Services and asked them if they will open the registration again but they told me to wait until a spot opens up. Luckily I found a place.”

The next Venetian Mask Workshop will be held on March 15.

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