(Courtesy Italia Unita)
The Italian tradition of Carnevale lives on in East Boston, as Italia Unita prepares to host its second annual celebration.
Founded in 1995, the East Boston-based non-profit organization works throughout the year to celebrate and share Italian culture, and few events on the Italian calendar are as popular as this one. The word “carnevale” means “farewell to meat,” and the celebration springs from the same source as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”: it’s a time for Catholics to indulge in rich foods before beginning the Lenten fast.
In Italy, the celebration is observed with masquerade balls, parades through the streets, and of course, feasts. Italia Unita tries to bring a bit of each into its celebration, which this year will include masks and costumes, dancing, pranks, skits, and foods such as the Sicilian specialty pignolata and the fried, sugared pastry known as chiacchiere.
As at last year’s celebration, Sicilian immigrant Pascal Gangi, youth artistic leader for the organization, will display his papier-mâché recreations of traditional figures and parade floats. A slideshow will also display photos of Carnevale celebrations from throughout Italy.
Italia Unita will hold its Carnevale Sunday, Feb. 19, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Zumix Firehouse, 262 Sumner St. in East Boston. They ask a $10 donation for admission. For more information, visit http://www.italiaunita.org. To reserve a ticket, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-561-3201.