Carnival Cutbacks?

WORLD Shortages of both water and funds have cities across Brazil canceling or hedging plans—even for the world-famous Carnival of Rio. (The Guardian) Use our resources to learn more about Carnival and other cultural geographies of South America. Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit. Discussion Ideas Read through our terrific encyclopedic entry on the cultural geography of South … Continue reading Carnival Cutbacks?

Fat Tuesday, krewes, Carnival, and shrimp jambalaya

2009-10-28_0000092.JPGFat Tuesday, krewes, Carnival, and shrimp jambalaya?!  You might be wondering: How did Tuesday get picked as the chubby day of the week?  Are they serving shrimp jambalaya at a carnival somewhere?  Does she know how to spell–the only “crew” I know of starts with a “c” and the plural form does not require an “es.”

I promise you that these phrases are all interrelated and pertinent to today’s topic—Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras has its roots in celebrations that originated thousands of years ago at the time of pagan spring and fertility rites, such as the Roman festival of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity came onto the scene, Roman religious leaders decided to incorporate the new faith into the local rituals and the tradition of Mardi Gras, or Carnival, before Lent each year began.  

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A Mardi Gras Photo Retrospective

All around the world this week, people celebrated the final days before Lent, a 40-day fast that is typically associated with Catholicism. National Geographic News featured these photos on their website today and I would like to share them with all of you. Compare these photos with the ones featured on the guest blog about Mardi Gras celebrations here in the United States. Enjoy!

090224-01-mardi-gras_big.jpgFebruary 23, 2009–Above, a dancer fearlessly performs atop an intimidating float during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday. 
–Photograph by Natacha Pisarenko/AP

090224-02-mardi-gras_big.jpgFebruary 22, 2009–Clouds of fire emanate from the mouth of a performer in Barranquilla, Colombia, on Sunday.

The city’s version of Carnival was declared a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2003, which means the international organization urges protection of the event as a cultural treasure.

–Photograph by Fernando Vergara/AP

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