Masquerade: Painted Paper, Masked Faces on Parade

“Masquerade / Why So Silent?”

Song by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cast Of “The Phantom of The Opera” Motion Picture

Masquerade, paper faces on parade
Masquerade, hide your face so the world will never find you
Masquerade, every face a different shade
Masquerade, look around, there’s another mask behind you

Flash of mauve, splash of puce
Fool and king, ghoul and goose
Green and black, queen and priest
Trace of rouge, face of beast, faces

Take your turn, take a ride
On the merry-go-round in an inhuman race
Thigh of blue, true is false
Who is who?

Curl of lip, swirl of gown
Ace of hearts, face of clown, faces
Drink it in, drink it up ’til you’ve drowned
In the light, in the sound
But who can name the face?

Masquerade, grinning yellows, spinning reds
Masquerade, take your fill, let the spectacle astound you
Masquerade, burning glances, turning heads
Masquerade, stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you

Masquerade, seething shadows breathing lies
Masquerade, you can fool any friend who ever knew you
Masquerade, leering satyrs, peering eyes
Masquerade, run and hide, but a face will still pursue you

What a night, what a crowd
Makes you glad
Makes you proud
All the crème, de la crème

Watching us, watching them
And all our fears are in the past
Three months of relief
Of delight, of elysian peace

And we can breathe at last
No more notes, no more ghost
Here’s a health, here’s a toast
To a prosperous year, to the new chandelier

And may our splendor never fade (what a joy) (what a change)
What a blessed release
And what a masquerade

Think of it, a secret engagement
Look, your future bride, just think of it
But why is it secret? What have we to hide?
Please, let’s not fight (Christine, you’re free)
Wait ’til the time is right (when will that be?)
It’s an engagement, not a crime
Christine, what are you afraid of?
Let’s not argue (let’s not argue)
Please pretend (I can only hope)
You will understand in time (I’ll understand in time)

Masquerade, paper faces on parade
Masquerade, hide your face so the world will never find you
Masquerade, every face a different shade
Masquerade, look around, there’s another mask behind you

Masquerade, burning glances, turning heads
Masquerade, stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you
Masquerade, grinning yellows, spinning reds
Masquerade, take your fill, let the spectacle astound you

Why so silent, good Messieurs?
Did you think that I had left you for good?
Have you missed me, good Messieurs?
I have written you an opera
Here, I bring the finished score
Don Juan triumphant
I advise you to comply
My instructions should be clear
Remember, there are worse things than a shattered chandelier
Your chains are still mine, you will sing for me

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Andrew Lloyd-Webber / Charles Hart / Richard Stilgoe

Masquerade / Why So Silent? lyrics © Peermusic Publishing


“The Phantom of the Opera” – Film synopsis

Source: Google

From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Patrick Wilson). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.


Masquerade Ball

Source: Wikipedia

A masquerade ball is an event in which many participants attend in costume wearing a mask. Less formal “costume parties” may be a descendant of this tradition. A masquerade ball usually encompasses music and dancing. These nighttime events are used for entertainment and celebrations. Wikipedia




A masquerade ball is an elegant party theme where glamorously-dressed guests don elaborate Venetian masks, traditionally worn to conceal their identity at upper-class social events – and they’re so much fun!

Many people associate the masquerade event with originating in the Venetian Renaissance in 16th century Italy. However, masquerade balls began much earlier in the 15th century in France, where people would dress up to celebrate up-and-coming Lent. Excessive consumption of meats, alcohol and other treats that would be given up during Lent was common – the essence of these events has always been, and still is, indulgence!

Masquerade balls as we know them later developed into costumed celebrations in Venice, where the upper classes would hold extremely lavish parties, with music and dancing. There are many reasons that masks were originally worn at these events: from anonymity to simply entertainment as guests had to guess the identities of others.

Although the masquerade tradition passed by the end of the 18th century, there’s been a modern-day resurgence of these parties, as the element of excitement and glamour these events cast is timeless.


Masquerades were traditionally large events where 100-200 people would gather, wearing the most elaborate painted masks and finery they owned. 

The theme works perfectly for a whole host of gatherings, such as a university graduation ball, summer ball, garden party, charity ball, prom, end-of-year party or a work Christmas do, including a unique and memorable theme for a wedding reception.


Music, dancing and food are the essential elements to any successful masquerade-themed night, but the main event is when the clock turns midnight and guests remove their masks, revealing their identities.


Mardi Gras



Mardi Gras, (French: Fat Tuesday) festive day celebrated in France on Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday), which marks the close of the pre-Lenten season. The French name Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, from the custom of using all the fats in the home before Lent in preparation for fasting and abstinence.

In the United States the principal Carnival celebration is in New OrleansLouisiana. The Carnival season there opens on Twelfth Night (Epiphany, January 6) and climaxes with the Mardi Gras festivities commencing 10 days before Shrove Tuesday. This period is filled with elaborate revelries, parades, both day and night, building up to Mardi Gras and the Rex parade. Beads of yellow, gold, green, and purple are commonly distributed, and the eating of king cake is an iconic part of the celebration.

Mardi Gras Masks


Whether they cover the wearer’s eyes or whole face, masks add an element of mystery and intrigue when worn, especially around this particular holiday in the city. It’s safe to say that masks are one of our favourite Mardi Gras traditions.

When did the mask tradition start though, and why?

Masks have been worn by different societies for centuries. Some groups wear them for rituals, some for celebrations, and still others for the performing arts. Mardi Gras masks in particular originated in ritual celebrations. New Orleans has been celebrating Mardi Gras for hundreds of years, and is the largest masked party in North America.

In the beginning, masks worn during Mardi Gras allowed wearers to escape society and class constraints. When wearing a mask, carnival goers were free to be whomever they wanted to be, and mingle with whatever class they desired to mingle with. However, they were also considered to be a diversion for poor people, and women who wore masks had their reputation questioned.

Today, everyone wears masks during Mardi Gras. In fact, float riders are required to wear masks by law. On Fat Tuesday, everyone is free to wear masks, adding to the excitement and magic of celebrations throughout the city.



Now, a note from this author. As you must have undoubtedly realized, this blog will speak about the wearing of masks – in the literal (physical) and figurative sense of the word.

There are many reasons why people may wear a mask (literally or figuratively):

  • In recent times, wearing a face mask has been deemed as extremely essential to protect oneself against virulent, air-borne infections, such as the Corona Virus. seen during the Covid 19 pandemic and to easily reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading infections.
  • To keep up with long-held traditions such as the masquerade ball and the Mardi Gras Festivities.
  • In keeping with certain religious rituals – a face mask is especially seen as being worn by the Parsi Zoroastrian priesthood, when chanting prayers in front of a burning fire, used in the worship of this religion.
  • Wearing a face mask increases the chance of anonymity in public and has been found as being a very useful tool to avoid awkward conversations and interactions with curious and inquisitive members of society – in general. A face mask effectively obscures facial expressions and emotions confusing the opposite party. This trend of preferring to don a face mask is seen recently, more and more, with the number of people who have had to suffer sudden job lay-offs – just as one example. It’s painful and uncomfortable enough for such people without having to make long explanations for it to others for whom it should be of little, or no concern at all.
  • To avoid social anxiety and to protect oneself against the social stigma of being jobless, for example, as is mentioned in the point above.
  • To avoid being seen as weak and vulnerable.
  • To protect oneself against trauma/traumatic situations.
  • To avoid being judged harshly by an unforgiving society.
  • To hide a host of negative emotions, including shame, guilt, hatred, anger, bitterness, embarrassment, etc.
  • To avoid being considered as being hypocritical and holding double-standards.
  • To avoid speaking harsh truths – veiling the reality under a garb of kindness. Spoken words can never be undone – it is the very same with one’s actions. Think before you speak – or act – out of turn. T.H.I.N.K. = T. – is it true? ; H. – is it helpful? ; I. – is it inspiring? ; N. – is it necessary?; K. – is it kind?
  • To conform to peer pressure and various societal pressures.
  • To conform to job pressures.
  • To confirm to familial pressures, etc.

The list of reasons is endless but that is not the object of this post. It is in the context of mental illness and the upswing in the number of people fighting a lone, losing battle with severe clinical depression – sometimes, leading to a suicide. This happens when the patient wears a figurative mask of false pretenses leading the world to be totally oblivious to their inner pain and struggles.

We must all remember one fact very clearly – “No one can help you, if you do not help yourself first.”

Just as physical ailments affect the physical health of the body, it is just as possible for a mental ailment to affect the health of one’s mind. The latter is our stronghold of thought processes, emotions, moods, and reasoning – it’s what essentially differentiates all of us from apes from whence humanity originates. High levels of stress, frustration and anxiety are known to cause various physical ailments, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, heart disease, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks and depression, gastrointestinal problems, etc. One can understand easily how physical and mental health are closely correlated to each other – it is not possible to separate one from the other. When society discriminates, judges, penalizes, criticizes, and marginalises people suffering from mental disorders, it is a sure way of showing one’s absolute ignorance of the facts and reflects as a total lack of compassion, care and understanding towards one’s fellow beings.

We live in a competitive world where cut-throat competition is the name of the game. While we cannot expect our daily pressures and stresses to decrease, we can certainly look for ways to combat the stress effectively. High stress is essentially the root cause of deep-rooted anxiety, panic attacks and clinical depression. We should not allow things to get so out-of-hand that we feel ourselves losing all control and sinking into an abyss of despair. It can be an extremely lonely existence if we choose to keep matters that way – one feels totally isolated and alienated from the world, at large. Just because we see other people smiling, laughing, and looking visibly happy, does not really mean that they are happy. Such false pretenders are born actors and actresses – it’s like looking at the reflection of a Veiled Presence – a Face that finds comfort in the shadow of a mask. Each one of us has our own set of problems but we need not be alone in facing or solving them – that’s the key to the matter.

The first thing to understand is that one is not alone – mental disorders afflict millions of people worldwide. Such persons might suffer from various mental issues, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. – yet few people speak openly of it.  Shame, embarrassment, and fears of being unfairly judged are just a few reasons that prevent patients from giving vent to their feelings of extreme sadness, loneliness, worthlessness, listlessness, including an inability to concentrate on anything for any given period. Again, there are several underlying reasons for such emotions to surface – one of them being a clear chemical imbalance in the brain that can easily be resolved by taking a regular course of antidepressants that are prescribed by trained medical professionals such as psychiatrists.

Communication is very important in such a case – one needs to be able to accept the fact that one is indeed sick and that one needs help. Sometimes, familial pressures, time and money constraints do not allow for a visit to a counsellor or clinical psychologist to whom one can speak openly, freely and without fear of judgement since such professionals are a totally neutral party. It is their job to listen and try to resolve deep-seated issues, in the best way that they can – whether they get paid to do it or not. If a trained professional is out of bounds – so to speak – for whatever reason, then, one must take a calculated risk – a calculated gamble in taking the plunge and trusting in the sympathy of a good friend or any other trustworthy neutral party. At times, all that a person needs is empathy – a ear that listens and understands, coupled with a mind free from judging the other.

Whether or not one notices the signs of a clinically depressed person, it is always a good idea to demonstrate empathy and moral support by encouraging verbal communication to find out what lies at the root of the problem. Speaking of one’s issues takes a huge load of the chest of a person struggling alone with depression. Learn the art of kindness and compassion – what might seem laughable to one person, is a matter of great anxiety to a depressed person. Don’t take what they might confide to you, privately and in confidence, lightly. Encourage the person to talk about his/her feelings and allow them to express why they feel the way they do. Is it justified to feel that way? Suggest ways and means by which he/she can overcome their feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness. This could be done as simply as taking up a hobby; doing yoga or exercising at the gym; going for a daily walk in the fresh air; making new friends by joining a hobby class like dancing, swimming, cooking, and baking, etc.; studying a subject of interest by reading up on it, etc.

It is especially useful to take care of elderly members of the family, especially one’s elderly parents – many of them feel so lonely and abandoned by their children. Don’t let it happen that way – there is no forgivable or plausible excuse for what is essentially basic selfishness, indifference, and callousness. Look up from your mobile phone or iPad – just make the time to talk to them. Some elderly people just long for someone to keep them company especially in the evenings when dusk sets in and the day is drawing to a close – evenings tend to be a very depressing time for some people. Just sit with them and tell them about your day, ask them what they did, speak of current events, etc. – anything that will keep the elderly person’s mind gainfully occupied.

It is a well-known fact that as one ages, there is short-term memory loss, but events of the past remain clear as day for elderly people. Listen to them even if it means listening to the same story multiple times. Do not correct them if there are small discrepancies in the tale – how does it really help in doing so?

BE THERE FOR ELDERLY MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY – THAT’S ALL THEY TRULY NEED. Be around in their time of need, or otherwise –our parents and grand-parents have sacrificed so much for our welfare, good health, and happiness; it is totally inexcusable and blasphemous if one conveniently forgets it. Don’t make excuses by saying – “I didn’t ask to be born so why should I do it?” What sort of stupidity is that? Is it even an excuse? I certainly think not. Neither should any person in their right mind.

What is suicide? It is an act of escapism that takes the form of taking one’s own life, especially whilst in an irrational state of mind. Suicide goes against the very principles of life itself – it is against the diktats of God; the date, time and manner of our death is preordained by the Heavenly Hand – the Lord, our God. It is not in our hands at all. A suicide is seen as a premature death and it has oft been said that the soul of a suicide victim is left wandering aimlessly and does not get eternal rest, as is its due.

One cannot escape one’s Karma and the Eternal Cycle of Birth, Death, and Rebirth. Suicide – believe it or not – is an act of cowardice. By killing oneself, one cannot run away from one’s problems. The latter have a despicable habit of relentlessly following us wherever we go. One must summon one’s inner resources of strength and face up bravely to problems, as best as one can. We must learn to “Close the Chapter on problems” once and for all, so that a brand-new page in the Book of Life can be turned. In this way, one can move on with one’s life, in a carefree manner, with new-found confidence, courage, and wisdom which we often presume (wrongly) that we lack.

Don’t you think that the world would be a better place to live in if only we learned the art of compassion and empathy? People often say (after the fact) that they felt that the suicide victim had a good life and seemed to have no outwardly visible problems but the question that forever remains an enigma is – “Will we ever discover the Face hiding behind the shadows of the painted mask? Will we ever truly understand?”

In the meanwhile, the figurative mask (that we all wear) remains firmly in place – it has no intentions of dropping any time soon to reveal its true face – at least not until an errant world decides to right itself. And that is an absolute fact. Accept it or not – the truth will not change.

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