Revellers take to their boats as Venice carnival begins first full day

The first full day of the Carnival of Venice begins with revellers taking part in a colourful parade along the canals in boats of all shapes and sizes.

VENICE, ITALY (JANUARY 24, 2016) (REUTERS) – A waterborne parade of boats carrying cloaked and masked Venetians began the first full day of carnival season on Sunday (January 24).

Revellers were cloaked, masked and robed in style as they watched the parade on the lagoon city’s waterways.

Scores of boats representing different organisations and affiliations made their way to the fabled district of Cannaregio cheered on by visitors on bridges and piers.

The Venice Carnival is world famous – it always takes place during the ten days leading up to the Christian religious season of Lent, which is traditionally associated with fasting and other forms of abstinence.

Carnival, being a pre-Lent festival, means ‘farewell to meat’ and is celebrated throughout Italy. It was first held in Venice in the 11th century and consisted of over two months of revelry, until it fell into decline during the 18th century. It was revived in 1979 with great success and nowadays it is a great excuse to don a mask and costume, parade around the city and enjoy the live music in the main squares of the city.

Visitors come from all over the world to visit Venice during this period.

“I expect joy and happiness, to have fun. Venice is beautiful as it is but with the carnival it’s even better,” said Massimo Canderola.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the festivities. This year it’s even more special, with my son, because I think the carnival is more for the children than for adults. It’s atmosphere of integration because people come from all over the world and you party with everyone, you laugh and joke,” said Silvia Garavello.

This year’s carnival runs until February 9.