Scene from Potenza Lodge carnival play 1951 with loge members (men, women and boy). Man extreme left plays a guitar, boy in front of him is looking around three men who are bending over a man wearing white pants, suit coat. Lady stands above holding both sides of his face. On the right lady in long dress looking sad, two men stand at her left. Potenza Carnival 1951. From left to right: Emanuel Gargaro, Ralph Villano, (man in black bowler hat unknown) Mike Leprino (in overcoat in front), Jim Leprino (young man at left of nurse), Fred Fiore (is Carnival, man injured), JoAnn Pergola Whipple (not in photo per Gerry Pergola, this is actually Marian Pergola (married to Roxie Pergola), Josephine “Duckie” Pergola, John Villano (pouring drink), Mike Pergola (the announcer that read the script written by Marian Ligrani, person’s hand unknown. See attached document for additional information.
This photograph is a digital scan of an original photograph lent for copying by Mike Marchese (copy print in Mike Marchese file) during the Italians of Colorado project. The original photograph is not owned by History Colorado. The digital scan was donated with permissions (see permissions in Registrar's file) and accessioned into the History Colorado collection.
Italians, Italian Americans, Carnival/Carnevale and Lent
In Italy, Mardi Gras is called Carnevale, and the fanciful masquerade costumes of Venice are well known. But Southern Italians also observe this day of excess before the solemn time of reflection and sacrifice that is Ash Wednesday and Lent. In Italy, carnivals are often satirical, making fun of politicians and religion. Some are historical and some are serious. These celebrations offer participants the opportunity to put on costumes and become someone else.
In the United States, Mardi Gras (or Carnival) takes place in the weeks leading up to Lent. There ae many varieties of Carnival in America from parades and masquerade balls, to entertainment, music, and parties. Mischief and pranks are common. All sharing in the spirit of celebration.
In Denver, Potenza Lodge annually celebrates Carnival or Fat Tuesday (Carnival Party with a dinner and play) about a week before Ash Wednesday. As the 2007 member newsletter noted “February 17 is our Carnival, Our Fat Tuesday and the start of Lent. This event is always a sell out so be sure to get your tickets early.” In 2022 Carnival Dinner was held on February 22.
Epiphany, January 6, is the official end of the Christmas season, but it also kicks off Carnival season in New Orleans. Although some people use Carnival and Mardi Gras interchangeably, they are actually different things. Carnival is a time to eat, drink and be merry before the rigorous fasting and sacrifice during Lent. It is filled with parades, balls and other celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Carnival officially ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday and Lent begins. From: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/history/traditions/carnival
In 2002, the Colorado Historical Society (now known as History Colorado) founded the Colorado Italian American Preservation Association (CIAPA). A volunteer organization, CIAPA’s mission is to work collaboratively with the Society and other organizations to develop, support and coordinate projects that preserve, promote and celebrate Italian American culture and heritage. Since 2002, CIAPA has carried out its mission by meeting with people from the Colorado Italian American community, recording their stories and creating an archive of research materials that includes oral histories, photographs, moving images, sound recordings and artifacts. To date, CIAPA has helped the Society acquire over 200 oral histories, 600 artifacts and nearly 6,000 photographs. Since 2002, CIAPA has developed over 4,000 research files, all of which document the history, culture and traditions of Italian American families in Colorado.
See MSS.02595 files Mike Marchese, Gerry Pergola, Julia Pacifico and Carnivale files for additional information and images.