The carnival was a time of drunkenness and masked identity. It sounded a lot like Mardi Gras to me. In the evening, costumed people took to the streets for merrymaking. There was much drinking, food, laughter, and music. It was a noisy, wild scene. If people did not show up the next day, the assumption was they were sleeping the alcohol off. People did things they wouldn't ordinarily do because their identity was masked. Since Italy was primarily a Catholic, the carnival probably took place just before Lent, a time of giving up the pleasures of life to prepare for Easter.