Spanish Carnaval is almost here!

CARNAVAL LESSONS & ACTIVITIES

The most fun is to be had with Carnaval! Know what Carnaval in Spanish speaking countries is?  It’s the Spanish version of Mardi Gras, but each of the twenty Spanish speaking countries has its own interpretation and cultural touches, or flourishes.  For a few days before the first Tuesday of February parades, parties, dances, and often costumes and masks take over.  Carnaval celebrants celebrate in a big way before the austere season of Lent begins and lasts until Easter Sunday.  Click this link for a Carnaval Lesson for secondary students.  Click this link for a Carnaval lesson for younger learners.

Here is some basic Carnaval Vocabulary

  • el desfile= the parade
  • la carroza= the float
  • los papelitos= confetti
  • el disfraz= costume
  • la máscara= the mask
  • el baile= the dance party

Semana Santa- Spanish Holy or Easter week

April 16, 2011 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, SPANISH CLASS NOW, Spanish I, Spanish II · Comment 

Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is one of the most important historical, cultural, and spiritual holidays in the Hispanic world.  Parades fill the streets with ornate, buy sombre pageantry.

Floats or los Tronos

Los Tronos are the ornate, historic floats used in Spanish especially for the Holy Week parades. In some cities some of the statues are hundreds of years old, or they are reproductions of the statues of Christ, Mary, the Disciples, and more biblical figures used in Spanish in the 1600′s.  Watch the video and read the article in Spanish.

TVSPAIN – SPAIN ON VIDEO

April Fool’s Day in Spanish

March 30, 2011 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, Mexican Culture, SPANISH CLASS NOW · Comment 

Here comes April Fool’s Day, but it is not celebrated on April 1 in the Spanish speaking world. Nowhere close, it is celebrated on December 28 as El Día de los Inocentes.

It commemorates King Herod’s slaughter of all male infants in biblical times. El Día de los Inocentes is now all about pranks and practical jokes, especially in Spain and Mexico where there are media hoaxes.

Here are some free activities: Spanish April Fool’s Day Activities

For a El Día de los Inocentes reading and activities click HERE.

Los Tres Reyes Magos- The Three Wisemen- Today!

Check out the gorgeous Tres Reys Magos parade from Madrid last year.  Today or today is the time for spectacular parades and fiestas all over the Hispanic world to celebrate the official end of the Christmas holidays with the visit of the Three Wise Men. Children write letters to the Reyes attesting to their good behavior and deeds so that they will receive candy and treats from the Reyes left in their empty shoes.  So much fun for all!

A simple Spanish reading and lesson on the visit of Los Tres Reyes Magos brings some celebration to learners.

A paper shoe template put out for the Reyes is also handy.

Spanish Books on Sale!

Check out the gorgeous Spanish books on sale at Barefoot Books.  I use all of them to teach students of all ages.  The art work is outstanding and the cultural and geographical ties in each book are awesome.  Some even have the Spanish CDs that go with the book.  And, please include our code 000-0gv7.

Día de los Muertos- Day of the Dead Vocabulary

October 4, 2010 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, Mexican Culture, Mexico, Spanish Vocabulary · Comment 

DAY OF THE DEAD ACTIVITIES & MATERIALS. CLICK HERE

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is almost here.  Sound creepy?  Well, it’s not.  Some Americans, or really many people, mistakenly think that Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Halloween.  It’s not.  No lo es.

Día de los Muertos is the opposite of morbid and macabre.  It’s a spectacular, colorful, happy, but respectful time to honor loved ones who have passed away. Think Memorial Day to the thousandth power.

History of Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos is celebrated on November first and second.  When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 1500’s, they came upon the native peoples, the Aztecs as one group, celebrating their dearly departed and the after life itself in August.  As the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries made headway in Mexico, they combined the native memorial celebration with their own All Saints’ Day.  The dates for Día de Muertos evolved into the first two days of November.

Celebrations, Imagery, & Symbols

Mexicans have an ingenious way of combining symbols and adding a distinct humor to the heavy concept of death, or La Muerte. La Muerte is both personified and humorized into the dancing, laughing skeletons. The colors used on decorations, pastries, and candles are bright and contrasting.  Here is a little vocabulary.

Da de Muertos Vocabulary

  • death= la Muerte
  • candle= la vela
  • bread of the dead= el pan de muerto
  • candied skull= la calavera
  • decorative crepe paper hangings= papel picado
  • decorative memorial= la ofrenda

Spanish World Cup Nations Vocabulary

The internationalism of la Copa Mundial, or the World Cup Soccer, is always fascinating.  Latin American teams are dominating this Copa, so here are some countries en español. Here is a podcast of world nations in Spanish.

Nations in Spanish

  • Argentina = la Argentina
  • Brazil = Brasil
  • Chile = Chile
  • Spanish = Espaa
  • Mexico =Mxico
  • Paraguay= Paraguay
  • Alemani = Germany
  • Italy = Italia
  • France = Francia
  • England = Inglaterra
  • Denmark = Dinamarca
  • Portugal = Portugal
  • Serbia = Serbia
  • Slovakia = Eslovaquía
  • Japan = Japón

Spanish World Cup Vocabulary

www.foreignlanguagehouse.comZakumi el Leopardo- La Copa Mundial 2010

The World Cup Soccer Tournament, or La Copa Mundial, is almost here!  Beginning on June 11, or el once de junio, the most exciting and most-viewed sporting event in the world takes place in South Africa, or Sudáfrica.  The excitement of La Mundial 2010 is impossible to describe.  La Mundial inspires national patriotism in Spanish-speaking countries like nothing else.  Check out the glorious Spanish language site FIFA.com. (

Spanish World Cup Vocabulary

  • el equipo= the team
  • el jugador= the player
  • el estadio= the stadium
  • el campo= the field
  • el balón= the ball
  • los espectadores= the spectators
  • jugar= to play
  • lanzar, and patear= to kick
  • bloquear= to block
  • cabecear= to head (the ball)
  • correr= to run
  • ganar= to win
  • perder= to lose

Use a web-quest, or internet scavenger hunt, to make your way through the FIFA site. Soccer picture flashcards and games really score goals too.

Free Spanish 5 de Mayo Activities

El Cinco de Mayo is almost here!  ¡Viva México!  ¡Viva Juárez!  Who was Juárez?  Benito Juárez was the Zapotec Indian general who lead the Mexican troops to victory.   Celebrate the vital Mexican victory of the Battle of Puebla with Spanish speakers and learners.

Click Cinco de Mayo Activities for a free set of Cinco de Mayo handouts.

Click Cinco de Mayo Vocabulary for a free podcast for Cinco de Mayo.

Spanish April Fool’s Fun

April Fool’s Day in Spanish?  Sure, there is fun to be had. But the true Fool’s Day in the Hispanic world is December 28th, el Día de los Inocentes.  So bring el Día de los Inocentes into April and have some fun!

Fool’s Day Spanish Vocabulary

  • bromar= to joke
  • la broma= the joke
  • el chiste= the joke
  • engañar= to fool
  • el engañado= the fooled one
  • prestar= to lend
  • devolver= to return an object

History & Culture

El Día de los Inocentes, or Day of the Innocents, commemorates the biblical tragedy of the massacre of male infants ordered by King Herod. Hispanic culture has interpreted the tragedy in a way to make it less so.  Los Inocentes became those fooled by pranksters.

In another specific practice, lending- prestar- and returning- devolver have become central to pranks in Mexico. If you lend something out in Mexico, you may not get it back for a while.  If you do, you’ll get a traditional note with candies and treats. In Spain media hoaxes take place on December 28th.

Click Spanish Fool’s Day Freebie for your free printable handout.

Practical Applications

Practice your Spanish with lending and returning activities!  Bring in some fun with candy and treats upon returning borrowed items.  For Fool’s Day activities, click here.

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