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Masquerades are lavish costume parties where attendees wear masks and are held around the world. From Europe and America to Africa, you’ll find elaborate, masked parties and colorful festivals. Before you go, make sure to plan a great costume so you can stand out from the crowd. Check out our picks for the top masquerade parties around the globe.
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Party like it’s 1799 at The Grand Masked Ball of Kamel Ouali, a masquerade found in Versailles, France. Guests to this ball must be dressed in 18th-century costumes and masks. The ball was started by Queen Marie Antoinette centuries ago, however, you don’t have to be royalty to attend this all-night affair. Tickets to the ball are pricey and sell fast. Therefore many attendees of this French masquerade plan to attend the event up to a year in advance. Don’t expect to be dancing to baroque music here. This masquerade has a club environment, where attendees boogie to dance music till dawn.
If you’re in Venice during late January to mid-February, you better be ready for costume-filled parties. Known as the Carnival of Venice, the Cannaregio District in this Italian city is filled with elaborate parties and parades where festival attendees are adorned with medieval outfits and incredible masks. This masquerade dates back to 1162. You’ll find food, drinks, contests and other fun events throughout the eighteen-day event.
Vienna, Austria may not immediately come to mind when you think of masquerades. However, the Austrian town has had a strong masquerade for more than 100 years. Known as the Rudolfina Redoute, this masquerade is really for the ladies, as only women wear masks. But don’t worry gentlemen, you’ll find out at midnight who you’ve been dancing with all night since all masks are removed at midnight.
Masquerades aren’t just found in Europe. Americans can enjoy a great masquerade ball right in Los Angeles. This California masquerade is an annual celebration where unique costumes are strongly encouraged. From fairies to princes to gnomes, a fantasy world comes alive for one weekend during the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. Complete with live music and performances, this American masquerade is one you’ll never forget.
If you’re looking for more out of a masquerade than just a good party, then head to Pernik, Bulgaria. This masquerade infuses folklore and patriotism, where Bulgarian culture and cultures of other countries are encouraged to perform and dress elaborately. The International Festival of Masquerade Games occurs every two years, during years ending in an even number. The streets of Pernik are flooded with elaborate costumes and decorations, especially animal costumes, a tradition intended to ward off evil spirits as spring approaches.
New Year’s Eve isn’t when the party occurs in Winneba, Ghana; it’s New Year’s Day. Every January 1st is the Fancy Dress Festival, a masquerade that fills the streets of Winneba. The festival is a dancing and costume competition. Adorned with African-inspired masks, those competing dance to brass music in their most incredibly-painted masks and costumes. This colorful festival is a unique spin on a masquerade event.
Last but not least is an extravagant masquerade ball found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During the Rio Carnival, The Magic Ball is one of the most anticipated events during Carnival. Every year there is a theme that reflects the main theme of the Rio Carnival. Located at the hotel known as Copacabana Palace, the Magic Ball is a luxurious, costumed event that reflects Brazilian style and flare.