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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Confetti 紙吹雪

Confetti, which are small pieces or streamers of paper, mylar, or metallic material, are typically thrown at celebrations like parades and weddings. The word "confetti" comes from the Latin word "confectum" and is the plural form of the Italian word "confetto," meaning small sweet. Paper confetti, as we know it today, has its roots in symbolic rituals of tossing grains and sweets during special occasions, a tradition that dates back to ancient times. Over the centuries, this custom evolved from using sweets and grains to using paper. Confetti is available in various colors and shapes, and it should be noted that there is a distinction between confetti and glitter. Glitter is smaller than confetti and has a universal shine. Metallic confetti, often referred to as such, is actually made of metallized PVC. Party supply stores typically carry both paper and metallic confetti. Confetti is commonly used at social gatherings such as parties, weddings, and Bar Mitzvahs. The simplest form of confetti is shredded paper, which can be made using scissors or a paper shredder. Chads punched out of scrap paper are also commonly used, with hole punches and ticket punches creating different shapes. When released, most pieces of paper confetti flutter like tumblewings, allowing for long flight times.

During the Middle Ages, it was a common practice in Northern Italy for participants in carnival parades to throw various objects at the crowd, including mud balls, eggs, coins, and fruit. This tradition can still be seen in some towns today, such as the "Battle of the Oranges" in Ivrea. In Milan, the use of throwing objects during parades dates back to the 14th century, with nobles throwing candies and flowers, while lower-class individuals mocked them by throwing rotten eggs. Battles between rival factions or districts also became common. In 1597, the city governor banned egg-throwing and other immoral behaviors, causing the custom to disappear for about a century. It resurfaced in the 1700s with the throwing of small candies, often sugar-coated seeds. These candies were expensive, so the lower classes used chalk balls instead. However, due to the large and dangerous battles that ensued, the use of chalk pellets was eventually banned. Some people then resorted to throwing mud balls. In 1875, an Italian businessman named Enrico Mangili began selling paper confetti for use in the annual carnival parade in Milan. He collected small punched paper disks left over from silk manufacturing and sold them for profit. The new paper confetti was well received by the customers, being less harmful, cheaper and more entertaining than the alternatives, and their use quickly replaced previous customs in Milan and northern Italy.

The Venice Carnevale is not entirely about masks. Many local Italians prefer painted faces or historical costumes. They are equally interesting and fun to photograph.

Elena Facchin is no stranger to the Venice Carnevale. Her costumes always have an Italian theme and are very special. Elena's costumes are much more than cosplay. Here, she creates the costumes and characters. Thank you Elena, for bringing Confetti to life.

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