Life and theater, all in a mask. This is the theme of the 2012 Venice Carnival and what better stage setting could you find for acting out your daily life than Venice. Carnival marks the beginning of Lent; it is the extravagant celebration of food and fun that leads up to the forty days and nights of abstinence before Easter. Begun as a Venetian tradition in 1296 the Carnival ceased in the mid 19th century and was revived in 1980. Since then it has grown every year as one of the city’s greatest traditions and definitely its biggest annual party.