History of Masquerades
Masquerade balls used to be held for a variety of different reason, ranging from ritual purposes to simple entertainment, but they all center around the idea of anonymity. At a masquerade a person’s identity must remain hidden behind a mask and only revealed well after midnight. This tradition came from Italy when the citizens of Venice came to the conclusion that secrecy was hard to maintain and judgement from others was common. They used masquerades as a way to have fun and celebrate without obtaining an unfavorable reputation. The masks gave them the ability to act how they wanted without ridicule.
Traditional masquerades weren’t simply about disguises, they also gave attendees the opportunity to dress up and look their best. No matter how wild you wanted to be, you were still expected to dress well and the more extravagant the better. Dresses and were intricate and colorful and the more you stood out, the better.
Modern masquerades have actually become more reserved. When people think of masquerades now, they think of regal, formal balls with a lot less partying. The masks were always about flamboyance to a degree, but they used to be significantly more about hiding identities, now the idea of anonymity is a lot less important. Instead of hiding their true selves, masquerades are now more about having fun with friends, regardless of if they know who you are or not. The main purposes of the masks nowadays are simply to express yourself and look elegant and pretty.