Carnivale in Barga at the Scacciaguai
The Scacciaguai restaurant in Barga Vecchia was the hottest ticket in town this evening as their patrons and guests celebrated the ancient tradition of Carnivale in style. The Scacciaguai, which has not yet been open to the public a full year (article here) is gradually becoming the place to be in Barga Vecchia for these organised events such as New years eve , Halloween and even for live music (article here)
The word carnival, comes from the Latin carnem levare, an expression used in the middle ages which marked the beginning of the Lenten fast- a time of the year during which one was not allowed to eat meat (carne in Latin).
But like many other festivals, it derives from an ancient Roman cult the Saturnalia, a pagan rites of fertility which were celebrated in honour of the god Saturn. During those celebrations everything was allowed, even disguising and change of rules. Carnivals were modified substantially because of its magic and ritual nature with Christianity, but it still was tolerated by the clergy. During the 15th and 16th century some traditions were recaptured and the use of masks spread over much of the area.