"Vesti la Giubba" (Put on the jacket, in this case the jacket of the clown) is a famous tenor aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's 1892 opera Pagliacci and is sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife's infidelity. Canio must nevertheless prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "The show must go on". The pain of Canio is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the "tragic clown": smiling on the outside but crying on the inside.
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with Lent, forty days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday. It is said that the Carnival of Venice was started from a victory of the "Repubblica della Serenissima", Venice's previous name, against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico in the year 1162. In the honor of this victory, the people started to dance and make reunions in San Marco Square. Apparently, this festival started on that period and became official in the Renaissance. The festival declined during the 18th century. After a long absence, the Carnival returned to operate in 1979.
The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of their efforts. Today, approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for Carnivals.