Seventh and eighth graders learned about the Spanish festival “Carnaval,” which is a festival held between the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday at noon. It marks the beginning of Lent (the forty-day period before Easter), similar to Mardi Gras. The etymology for the word carnaval is “farewell to meat,” or time to start fasting. The end of Carnaval signifies that a time for fasting, cleansing, and reflection in preparation for Holy Week has started.
Carnaval is celebrated in many Spanish speaking countries such as Colombia, Uruguay, Panamá, Spain, México, Puerto Rico, and other countries that speak a Latin based language such as Brazil, France, Italy, and Canada - amongst other small cities and towns where the Spanish, French and Portuguese had a strong historical presence. In other areas celebrations begin several days before the beginning of Lent. Example: In Barranquilla, Colombia, the celebration lasts 4 days. Their Carnaval is a “Masterpiece,” UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
There are several symbols, such as masks and dances. The mask in the picture is made of papier-mâché and it represents a folkloric character called "diablico sucio,” who dances and performs with castanets.
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