My wife and I visited Sicily during an especially cold February. Our visit began in Palermo, followed by a one week road trip around the island, ending with several days in Catania. Unbeknown to us before we arrived, our visit to Catania coincided with Carnival.
Carnival dates to the Roman Empire and, although it is not a religious celebration, occurs just before Lent. It’s most commonly celebrated in Catholic countries so it makes sense it would be popular in Italy. The most famous Carnival celebration in Italy is in Venice; however many smaller celebrations can be found throughout the country. Carnival is popular in Sicily and is celebrated in a variety of ways — special food, parades, and children (and adults) in costumes and masks parading around.
We were wandering the streets of Catania and were exploring a hillside park, Giardino Bellini. Amidst the historic paths, hedges, flowerbeds and fountains, we came across a large group of children, most costumed, playing while supervised by their parents. We asked one of the parents what was going on and they explained it was the kid’s way of celebrating Carnival, an annual tradition.
The costumes were of all types, many bought in stores, some home made, some very cute, some inventive, and so on. We studied these kids having fun for awhile and enjoyed it all, remembering that kids are there to remind all of us that we’re getting older.
I took lots of photos and this post has some of my favorite images of that day…An unexpected experience — often the best you can have while traveling.
(Clock on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)