Carnival King of Europe: against the domestication of the festival

The Devil's Night in San Demetrio Corone (Cosenza, Italy). In the background, an example of the style called 'unfinished calabrese'. Photo Angelo Maggio, 2009

Carnival has often provided an outlet for popular expressions of discontent with the ruling classes, and was actually banned in Spain during Franco’s Fascist dictatorship, under the pretext that the Carnival practice of disguising one’s identity with masks might provide cover for leftist insurgents to launch surprise guerrilla attacks.”. Though Carnival King has been tamed almost all over Europe, it could come back to life in other continents of the world. A group of activists based in Fremantle (Perth, Australia) propose since 2004 a Carnival festival in the ancient European style: irriverent, nonconformist, countercultural. Meanwhile, in some parts of the old continent, Carnival is taking back its ancient value as an occasion for social protest.

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