Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Carnivals all over the world

It's Carnival time and we'd like to see the different ways of having fun at Carnivals in various countries such as England, Brasil, Spain and so on. Starting by the UK, we've realized that Carnivals take place in the summer and not in February as you may think if you're from Spain. Let's google the following question: "When are Carnivals held?" Apparently, February is the standard month to celebrate Carnivals and other countries like England "have developed their own traditions. In the United Kingdom, West Indian immigrants brought with them the traditions of Caribbean Carnival, however the Carnivals now celebrated at Notting Hill, London; Leeds, Yorkshire, and other places have become divorced from their cycle in the religious year, becoming purely secular events, that take place in the summer months". (wikipedia source)

Today, we've felt uncomfortable talking about Carnivals in class, I mean, we need more vocabulary to explain how to enjoy oneself at these festivities, on top of that, how on earth are we going to be able to explain about Xinzo's Carnivals to someone from the UK? It's not just a question of lack of vocabulary, but a tremendous culture change, which could be only understood by being there, and living such a traditional and ancient Carnival in Xinzo de Limia (Ourense)

In order to find out more about festivities and old traditions, we could read something by John Barlow. He wrote about the Galician tradition of Pig slaughter and its different dishes. His book is entitled: Everything but the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain, highly-recommended for you to appreciate the differences among cultures and difficulties when talking about them.

Finally, there's something more you can do, apart from having a look at Barlow's excellent book, why don't we start writing a document on Useful language on Carnivals and other festivities? Yes, why not.

Carnival resources for the language classroom: