The History Of Masquerades

The History Of Masquerades

Alyssa Villa, South Side Editor

On February 4th at the night rally, the theme for this year’s prom was announced. The prom was held on April 9th and the theme was Midnight Masquerade. Masquerade-themed dances have been around for a long time and are well known. 

A masquerade ball is an event where all participants wear decorative face masks that usually cover the top half of their face. Masquerade balls have been a thing since the 14th and 15th centuries and were done during Europe’s carnival season. In France, most masquerade balls were held by royalty. One ball that stands out in history is the Ball Of Burning Men. It was held by Charles VI and was thrown to celebrate the marriage of one of the queen’s ladies in waiting. Charles VI and five men dressed in linen and resin outfits and danced, but four of the men ended up burning to death because a guest brought a torch and got it near the flammable suits. 

Masquerade balls started being held in Italy in the 16th century during the renaissance period. The masquerade balls were known to be scandalous where anyone could do anything they wanted anonymously. When the Venetian republic fell in the 18th-century, masquerade balls started to become less popular, and eventually, they were forgotten about. Masquerade Balls became popular again in England when John James Heidegger introduced the costumes from the Venetian balls to the public. They soon spread around England and were held in beautiful halls. 

Masquerade balls used to be very popular, but they are not as common as they were before. When Masquerade balls are talked about nowadays, they are seen as something from movies or books. They were usually held by upperclassmen to celebrate special occasions. Their anonymity allowed many scandalous things to happen. Masquerade balls were very elegant and beautiful and perhaps they come back in the future.