ORIGINALLY INVENTED TO ENTERTAIN THE BOURGEOISIE WINTERING ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA
Like every year in February, the sophisticated Mediterranean metropolis of Nice wakes up from its hibernation and transforms itself into a lively and colorful backdrop for THE spectacular live open-air show. Street festivals take over the city and people sing, dance and have fun throughout.
The Nice Carnival, originally invented to entertain the bourgeoisie wintering on the French Riviera, has now grown into the premier winter event on the French Riviera, attracting over a million visitors to the French Riviera every year. However, its original roots go back much further, namely in the traditional Catholic Lent period before Easter.
Each year a special theme is chosen, after which the artists create designs and create the floats and figures from traditional papier-mâché. The colorful performances have long had a reputation for being modern and creative, and are considered high-quality works of art. The theme of this 150th anniversary year is “the King of the Treasures of the World”.
The Carnevale di Nice, which now enjoys international status, first began in 1294 as a medieval folk festival in the narrow streets of the city. We owe it to the then Count of Provence, Charles d’Anjou, who wanted to celebrate the carnival in his favorite city. For many centuries, the lavish celebrations were private events with exclusive parties and masquerade balls held in luxurious residences attended only by wealthy aristocrats and wealthy nobles.
After the French Revolution, the country fell into deep turbulence at times and the elimination of the absolutist rule of the nobility and church changed the entire living situation for the population, which meant that the festivities were repeatedly interrupted. This changed when in 1830 Carlo Felice Giuseppe Maria, King of Sardinia and Queen Maria Christina Amelie of Bourbon-Sicily, Queen of Sardinia-Piedmont came to Nice during the Carnival season. The city organized a public parade, held in their honor. This exceeded all expectations and was so successful that it was continued and eventually Nice was named Carnival Capital.
Read the full article in Issue 22