The History Behind Masquerade

The origins and history of the 2020 Winter Formal theme explained

For many years people have gathered together to celebrate different events. In these times of celebration a masquerade party or ball has been one of the most popular and persistent party themes. The idea of masquerade celebrations has evolved over thousands of years, but where did this themed idea begin?
The word masquerade comes from the french word ‘mascarade’ as well as the italian word “maschera”, however the actual the original idea for masquerade is likely to have began on the West African Coast. African masquerades were a type of ceremonies that were performed by someone in a mask.
Masquerades had 3 subcategories. The Ekpe which were ceremonies based on cultural drama. The Ofirima which has the lead dancer wearing a headpiece that resembles a shark. The Yoruba which was a festival where people would celebrate and honor Ancestry spirits.
There is no definitive answer as to where masquerade originated or how it spread, however sightings of the idea spreading to Venice go as far back as the 18th century. Venetians view of a masquerade differed from that of the West Africans.
Masquerades became more of a party where masked men would throw scented eggs at women. 18th century paintings have shown that masks may have been worn to conceal questionable behavior. Renderings of Venetians in gambling houses show the style of outfits worn at the time.
Men and women wore white with men using face-shaped masks known as Bauta. Women wore black velvet, oval shaped masks known as the Moretta.

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