Le masque, destiné à dissimuler, représenter ou imiter un visage, assure de nombreuses fonctions, variables selon les lieux et l'époque. Simple objet de divertissement ou associé à un rite, œuvre d'art ou produit normalisé, il se retrouve sur tous les continents. Il est tantôt associé à des festivités (Halloween, Mardi gras), tantôt à une fonction ( chamanisme, relique funéraire).
Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. In Germany and the Netherlands, the Carnival season is traditionally opened on 11/11 (often at 11:11 a.m.). This dates back to celebrations before the former longer Advent season (40 days now reduced to about four weeks), or with harvest celebrations of St. Martin's Day.
Carnival is traditionally held in areas with a large Catholic and to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox makeup. Protestant areas usually do not have Carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. Conversely, the Philippines, though a predominantly Roman Catholic country, does not have Carnival celebrations because it has been culturally influenced by neighboring Asian nations, which do not have Carnival celebrations.