How do people celebrate Carnival in Naples: origins and traditions

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Carnival is a very much appreciated holiday by neapolitans, in this period the city gets festive and happy. There are many neapolitan Carnival traditions and they are very ancient, but they are respected even today. How is Carnival in Naples? Let’s find it out together.

During the Carnival week neapolitans usually eat “chiacchiere” and “sanguinaccio”. “Chiacchiere” are a very famous dessert in Italy, but they are known with different names in several parts of the country. Neapolitan “chiacchiere” consist of thin strips of fried dough with powdered sugar on top. “Chiacchiere” are usually served with “sanguinaccio”, which is a dark chocolate cream. In ancient times, “sanguinaccio” used to be prepared adding pig’s blood to the recipe. But don’t worry, this tradition has been discarded these days, and “sanguinaccio” is made 100% of chocolate!

As in other parts of the world,  also in Naples children dress up for Carnival. It’s really fun walking on the streets of the city during the Carnival week and watching the amazing costumes of the children. Neapolitans have a huge fantasy and their costumes are often surprising.

But in the Carnival week you also have to watch out for jokes of neapolitan “scugnizzi”. The rule is “at Carnival every kind of prank is allowed” and children enjoy playing funny and original tricks on adults. Don’t wear your best clothes, you could get dirty!

Carnival has very ancient origins and it has always been of great importance in the history of Naples. In the 18th century, the king Charles of Bourbon used to organize huge celebrations all over the city, wich were highly anticipated by common people and noble families. The king used to build all over the city the so-called “cuccagne”, wooden structures covered with food, which was given away to the people. Also the neapolitan nobles loved Carnival, throwing elegant costume parties in the most beautiful palaces of the city of Naples. Neapolitans love these traditions, that’s why, this year, has been organized in Naples the Eighteenth-Century Neapolitan Carnival by Travelers and the City, a costume party that will evoke a typical carnival party of that wonderful period of the history of the city.

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Alessio Esposito
Scrivo quello che penso, penso quello che scrivo. Napoletano vero, diffidare dalle imitazioni.

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