French Masks for Mardi Gras: Darth Vader, Hollande and... Putin?

© AFP 2022 / RONALDO SCHEMIDTMembers of the international organization OXFAM wear masks of (L-R) presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Vladimir Putin of Russia and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, during a protest at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, on June 14, 2012 ahead of the June 18-20 G-20 Summit in Los Cabos
Members of the international organization OXFAM wear masks of (L-R) presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Vladimir Putin of Russia and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, during a protest at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, on June 14, 2012 ahead of the June 18-20 G-20 Summit in Los Cabos - Sputnik International
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Ironic gifts for Mardi Gras took on international politics in 2016, as Putin masks suddenly became a favorite among buyers.

Among the array of masks for sale in Paris for Mardi Gras, masks of politicians, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin were surprisingly the most popular according to one shopkeeper, making for ironic gifts.

"People generally buy them as a joke, or as a gift for someone, like a friend, whose opinion is radically different from the views of this politician. People often think that giving someone a mask like that would be funny," Antoine Jalu, shopkeeper at Au Feu de la Fête told TF1.

A carnival float with papier-mache caricatures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and a figure representing Greece (L) takes part in the traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in the western German city of Duesseldorf February 16, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Another shopkeeper said that Venetian masks (think Eyes Wide Shut) were most popular with adults, although do-it-yourself masks are gaining in popularity.

Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday" is a Christian feast, which in many historically Catholic communities has become more popular as a carnival celebration.

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