Growing up in the South of France in a small town between Nice and Marseille, I remember Carnival fondly. Except, we did not call it that way, we used to call it “le corso fleuri” because during the parade, all the floats were decorated with local fresh flowers. I also remember “le Caramantran”, the king of the parade, a huge mannequin made of papier maché that would end-up being burnt!
Le Corso fleuri in Nice (Zil, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2009)
Now, fast forward three decades to last Saturday night. I was researching various cultural practices around Carnival for the upcoming PETIT JOURNAL FRANCOPHONE when I found out that other francophone regions of the world also burn their Carnival king. In Martinique and Guadeloupe for example, King Vaval symbolizes all of the past year’s problems and is burnt on Ash Wednesday.
(King Vaval in Martinique, fwimusic.wordpress.com, 2011)
I started getting really excited, looking up all the different ways Carnival is celebrated in the francophone world. Before I knew it, it was midnight, way past my bedtime, the article was 2 pages long and I had started crafting CI activities to go along with the reading. I spent most of today polishing the activities, and I now have a mini cultural reading unit for students in the Novice range (Mid-High) or early Intermediate Low. I wish I had a class I could share this with but since for the moment I don’t, I am sharing it with you!
I hope your students enjoy reading about Carnival. If you have any questions or constructive feed-back, I always appreciate it. And if you end-up doing the Smash Doodles post-reading activity, would you please send me some samples of your students’ doodles at email@example.com? Thank you!
(Featured image credit: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 3.0 2011)