What is Carnaval?

What is carnival?
It is an annual celebration of life found in many countries of the world. And in fact, by learning more about carnival we can learn more about ourselves and a lot about accepting and understanding other cultures.

Where did the word “carnival” come from?Hundred and hundreds of years ago, the followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and in fact the practice spread to France, Spain, and all the Catholic countries in Europe. Then as the French, Spanish, and Portuguese began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival.

The dynamic economic and political history of the Caribbean are indeed the ingredients of festival arts as we find them today throughout the African and Caribbean Diaspora. Once Columbus had steered his boat through Caribbean waters, it was only a few hundred years before the slave trade was well established. By the early 19th century, some six million slaves had been brought to the Caribbean. Between 1836 and 1917, indentured workers from Europe, west and central Africa, southern China, and India were brought to the Caribbean as laborers.

African influences on carnival traditionsImportant to Caribbean festival arts are the ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks. Circling villages was believed to bring good fortune, to heal problems, and chill out angry relatives who had died and passed into the next world. Carnival traditions also borrow from the African tradition of putting together natural objects (bones, grasses, beads, shells, fabric) to create a piece of sculpture, a mask, or costume — with each object or combination of objects representing a certain idea or spiritual force.

Feathers were frequently used by Africans in their motherland on masks and headdresses as a symbol of our ability as humans to rise above problems, pains, heartbreaks, illness — to travel to another world to be reborn and to grow spiritually. Today, we see feathers used in many, many forms in creating carnival costumes.

African dance and music traditions transformed the early carnival celebrations in the Americas, as African drum rhythms, large puppets, stick fighters, and stilt dancers began to make their appearances in the carnival festivities.

In many parts of the world, where Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered into the slave trade, carnival took root. Brazil, once a Portuguese colony, is famous for its carnival, as is Mardi Gras in Louisiana (where African-Americans mixed with French settlers and Native Americans). Carnival celebrations are now found throughout the Caribbean in Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Haiti, Cuba, St. Thomas, St. Marten; in Central and South America in Belize, Panama, Brazil; and in large cities in Canada and the U.S. where Caribbean people have settled, including Brooklyn, Miami, and Toronto. Even San Francisco has a carnival!

Carnival (Carnaval, Καρναβάλι (Carnavali), Carnevale, Carnestoltes, Carnaval, Karneval, Carnaval and Karnawal in Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Catalan, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Polish languages) 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, masque and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnival is a festival traditionally held in Roman Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Protestant areas usually do not have carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival and http://www.allahwe.org/History.html

Español 3 Project

Carnaval, carnaval, carnaval te quiero

From Revista “Materiales”


Ficha 1, actividad

Nos vamos de viaje

Imagine that you and a group of your friends are going overseas to celebrate “Carnaval” with the natives. When you come back, each group will share your information with your class.

1. ¡Primero a explorar!

Go into these websites and investigate: Each student in the group chooses one country to report.

a-Choose one of these places in Spain: Cadiz, Tenerife, Sitge, Aquilas, Palmas, Cartagena, or Barcelona y Madrid (together)


b-Puerto Rico







2. ¡A disfrazarse!

Bring a big foto of yourself and dress your body with a costume (Disfraz) made up of magazine cuts, cloth, anything creative and proper

Write here ideas of what materials you will need.

3. •-¡Preparen vuestras aventuras

Prepare sentences based on what you learn about the holiday and the country. Make a poster/PowerPoint presentation.(En inglés)

Describe in Spanish the “disfraz” that you are wearing, clothing colors, material (En español)

Compare in 3 sentences from your “disfraz” to those of the other members of your group. (Like: Mine is small, yours is big. Mine is red, yours is blue) (En español)

Finally compare and contrast in 5 sentences how Carnaval here is different then in Spanish Speaking Countries (En inglés)See info in my Carnaval Web-Site.

4. ¡Habla!

Now tell the rest of the class: about your trip

- Talk loud and clear.

- Use eye contact and hand gestures.

- Don’t read, you can look your notes but it needs to be spontaneous.

- You can use background music!

How many times did you practice? Where these enough? Are you well preparing for an A+? ¡Adelante, pués!

5. Fecha de exposición: ______________________

Make sure you know the due dates and the day of your final presentation.

Ficha 2, evaluación

Learn from all you will be hearing in this unit, not just your team’s presentation.

De 1 (muy poco) a 7 (muchísimo).

1. Investigates and collects lots of information.

2. Shares the information with your group and your class.

3. Make a good “Difraz” and be original.

4. Describes correctly information about Carnaval and the “ ropa y colores”.

5. The poster/presentation is colorful, complete and creative. The information is correct and no error and clearly explains what you learn from Carnaval in the country of visit.

6. Learn That in the USA and in the Spanish speaking countries Carnaval is celebrated differently.

7. Escuchar a todos los compañeros con atención.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Foods and Arts

What are different types of foods and crafts Spanish speaking countries have for this holiday?


What people do for holiday in different countries?

Different Countries, Same Holiday.

What is Carnaval, Fashing, Mardi Grass?


Why people celebrate this holiday, where did it started?