Floral Traditions in Italy - from Garden of Eden Flower Shop

Floral Traditions in Italy - from Garden of Eden Flower Shop

Welcome to November and our foray into the floral traditions of Venice, Italy’s Carnival!

According to legend, the Carnival of Venice started following the military victory of the Venetian Republic over the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico de Treven in the year 1162. In the honor of this victory, the people started to dance and gather in San Marco Square. Apparently, this festival started in that period and became official in the Renaissance. In the seventeenth century, the baroque carnival was a way to save the prestigious image of Venice in the world. It became very famous during the eighteenth century; it encouraged license and pleasure, but it was also used to protect Venetians from present and future anguish. However, under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperor and later Emperor of Austria, Francis II, the festival was outlawed entirely in 1797 and the use of masks became strictly forbidden. It reappeared gradually in the nineteenth century, but only for short periods and above all for private feasts, where it became an occasion for artistic creations.

After a long absence, the Carnival returned in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of its efforts. The redevelopment of the masks began as the pursuit of some Venetian college students for the tourist trade. Since then, approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella ("the most beautiful mask") which is judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers.

Most costumes incorporate lavish amounts of silks, velvets, and sheer fabrics, but the accent used in mass quantities are silk flowers. Flowers in theme colors of the costume are used as large headpieces, curling up and framing the wearer’s mask, and paved across bodices, waistcoats, and dresses. Over the past few years, red roses, bright yellow sunflowers, pastel wildflowers, and icy winter or rusty autumn blooms have made a predominant showing at Carnival. No matter the costume,  you’ll likely see at least one if not hundreds of silk flowers! Do yourself a favor and Google “Venice Carnival flowers” and prepare to oooh and ahhh over the magnificent floral display!

Our last trip for the year 2021 will be the worldwide tradition of holly, ivy, and the white lily for the month of December. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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