Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Angry Bird

Those of you who know me well know that Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. What’s not to like? You dress up, roam around the neighbourhood in search of treats and no one feels left out like they do on many of the more popular holidays. Over the years my Halloween costumes have become more and more random, from Hulk Hogan to 50 Cent, I always enjoy picking an outfit more ridiculous than the one that I wore last year! Often I will make my costumes myself, a tradition started by my mother when I was a child, and in general I try to go all out for the big day.

 Sadly they don’t really celebrate Halloween in Italy. In fact this year I noticed only two children dressed up on Halloween night, it was really pathetic. Much to my relief, while looking for Italian Halloween traditions on the internet I discovered that these lively people celebrate something possibly better. Something that incorporates all of my favourite parts of Halloween and magnifies them! They call this annual event carnevale! Every February cities all over Italy host parades and fairs for up to an entire month. Children and adults alike revel in the streets wearing masks and elaborate costumes. Before I moved to Italy, the only carnevale that I had ever heard of was the one in Brazil. I associated it with feathers, sparkly thongs and mild nudity. The Italian version, however seems to be about bringing life and colour to an otherwise dreary and depressing month. Given my passion for costumes and Halloween, I have naturally been waiting for the arrival of February for quite some time now!

With January coming to a close, the word carnevale is already on the tip of everyone’s tongues. The locals are talking about some kind of a parade (I never fully understand what people are on about because they use Italian phrases and sayings that seem to have no literal translation into English) and many of the stores have carnivale displays in their windows. This being my first carnevale, I had no idea what to wear and wanted to try a traditional Italian style mask. Still with the kick off being only several weeks away I was lacking inspiration. Then a few days ago while walking around Lodi I passed one of those stores that sells homemade crafts, random trinkets and various herbs and potions. Usually I don’t go in because part of me is afraid that if I don’t purchase something the owner will put a voodoo hex on me. On this particular occasion, however there was a small box sitting outside the door filled with home made carnevale masks. I enthusiastically rummaged through it and fell instantly in love with what may be the most sinister looking mask that I have ever seen! The only way to describe it would be an angry bird mask, a crow straight from the depths of Hades stalking your dreams…ok perhaps that description was a little bit dramatic, but the drama is what I love about this mask. Of course after being seduced by its dark facade I had to purchase it and plan on making it the key element of my carnevale costume.

In a way it’s kind of ironic that I happened to choose a mask that resembles an angry bird. Recently I have become obsessed with a computer game called Angry Birds. The basic plot is that some pigs (who also happen to be green for some reason…possibly because they have been consumed by pure evil?) steal several bird eggs with the plan of poaching them. The birds therefore take vengeance on the pigs by dive bombing their various forts and enclosures with the ultimate goal of slaughtering them. Sounds violent doesn’t it? The music is actually quite cheerful and the birds all make different cute noises as they prepare to launch themselves into the air. Anyway, clearly simply playing the game is not enough for my subconscious mind. I identify with the bird’s plight so much that I will join their ranks, even if it is for one day and with the aim of getting candy…green pigs beware.

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