The Fascinating History of Masquerades and Masquerade Masks
- - Sep 17, 2019
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Masquerade balls are exciting, to say the least. Masked in intrigue and mystery and draped in luxury and decadence, they feel almost otherworldly. Stemming from the carnival culture of Medieval Europe, today masquerade balls have become a popular party theme. If you are planning to host a Halloween party this year, why not make it a masquerade ball? It will not just tease your guests’ imaginations but also make your event a total hit.
However, before you do that, why not learn about the fascinating history of masquerade balls and masks? Here are some interesting facts that you might want to know:
1. Masquerades were not always a high-society event.
If you thought that the glamorous and extravagant masquerade balls had their origin in some king’s palace in the middle ages, then you are wrong. They began as a part of Europe’s carnival celebrations, more popularly in France. Villagers and other common people used to dress up in costumes and masks to take part in the elaborate processions and celebrations. 15th century France was known for some of the most notorious carnivals, which included the celebration of royal arrivals. Even King Charles IX is known to have danced wearing a wooden mask.
2. The masks came to be associated with Italy only in the 16th century.
While some sources claim otherwise, it has been found that the art of the masquerade masks entered Italy in the late 16th century, during the Renaissance. It is then that Italian aristocrats, especially those in Venice, started using them to attend balls and other events. They were infamous for indulging in scandals and debauchery under the garb of anonymity. Illegal or secret financial transactions and inappropriate sexual behavior was commonplace in such parties.
3. The masks were used to hide identity.
People in the 13th and 14th century Europe were not just religious but also extremely sensitive about class hierarchy. The carnivals were attended by people from all rungs of the society, but the different classes did not socialize. That was mostly because those from the high society were expected to maintain a certain decorum and follow certain rules. Any kind of deviant behavior would have been scandalous. The masquerade masks allowed them to break free from the everyday norms and rules. They provided them with obscurity. So, even if they danced around drunkenly or indulged in any promiscuous activities, their identities would remain hidden.
4. The masks gave people freedom of speech.
While some used the masks to hide their deviant behavior, some used the anonymity provided by them to exercise their freedom of speech at the carnivals. Since the masks hid their identity, they could express their most controversial opinions. Feelings were communicated. The wildest emotions were vented. There was no one to judge them on the basis of who they were. So they could say anything they wanted without the fear of consequence.
Now that you are somewhat versed in the colorful history of masquerade balls and masks, it is time you start your Halloween party prep. You can buy masquerade masks at Yacanna. We have an extensive selection of beautiful masquerade masks for sale online.