Tell students they’re invited to the biggest party in Brazil. Brazil has a big party every year called “Carnival.” Carnival takes place right before Lent. Lent is a time where people give up something important to them for 40 days as part of their religious practices. Fourty days is a long time to give something you really love, so Brazilians celebrate Carnival to have one final party before giving up things they enjoy for Lent.
Rio’s Carnival festivities – the most popular Carnival event in Brazil – is taking place between 21 and 29 February 2020, in Rio de Janeiro. Expect a party to rival all the most riotous of revelry at the Sambadrome stadium. Every year, more than 2 million people take to the streets each day to celebrate Carnival. There are around 587 street parties, known as blocos, which take place in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnival period. They’re more casual affairs than the official parades, but still come complete with the Carnival costumes and wild parties you’d expect from these wild festivities. These elaborate costumes take hundreds of hours to make and Brazilians start preparing months in advance. Costumes are often sewn by hand and covered in thousands of beads and sequins. Masks can be made out of almost any material, however, most masks are made out of clay or rubber. Clay and rubber are good materials for masks because they can withstand the entire length of the festival without breaking. Sometimes, groups of people, such as samba schools, will choose a specific theme for Carnival and make masks and costumes together. Today we’re going to make Carnival masks.
We’re going to create masks for Brazil’s Carnival celebration.
- Have children look at pictures of Brazil carnival costumes and masks. Ask some of these questions to help them create observations:
- What do you notice about the masks? Their colors?
- Do these costumes remind you of anything?
- Have you ever worn a mask? What did your mask look like?
- Record students’ answers on the board for inspiration designing their own masks
- Have students cut out the mask template worksheet
- Let students get creative and use markers, sequins, glitter, tape, feathers, and stickers to decorate their masks
- Have a carnival celebration where students wear their masks and share their ideas with others
Have children share their findings. Which animal did they see the most of? Why do they saw more of that animal than the others?”
Ideas for guiding questions:
- Do you think you could give up something you love for 40 days? What might you give up?
- What did you use to make your mask? What inspired you to choose that design/those colors?
- What do you normally do at a party?
- Does carnival remind you of any holidays you celebrate?