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Carnival week at school

By Jo Green - Sat 5th Mar 2011

Ok, so maybe it's not quite Rio de Janerio, but when it comes to celebrating 'Mardi-Gras' - or 'Carnival', as we call it around these parts, Valencia does a pretty good job.

Rather than it being an antiquated and hardly observed custom in the UK (except for a few people eating the occasional pancake), over here the schools celebrate carnival for the whole week, focusing on something different every day.

Last week, in preparation for Carnival week, the three-year olds all had their faces painted as clowns ( 'Pallaso' is now my daughters new word - and mine ) and read about the circus - which was to be the theme for the entire school 3 - 12 years old - for this year's celebration.

The 'Ampa' Mothers association for my daughter's year met to decide on a costume for the class as a whole to wear, and it was decided that they would dress a marching band ( Majorettes etc... ) and everybody chipped in to buy the costumes from a Fiesta specialist in the next town.

On the following Monday - the first day of the fiesta - the kids made and painted face masks of all of the animals that might be seen in the circus and learned all about them.

On the Tuesday the kids were all told to come to school with Mum's red lipstick on. At 5 o'clock they all came out of school with the full - clown's make up on (again!).

On Wednesday morning the kids were told to come to school wearing odd shoes. My other half (who takes her to school in the morning) made me swear that this was correct before finally getting in the car. In the afternoon they were told to come in whatever fancy dress costume they chose. I dug out the fairy costume that she seems to have been able to fit into since the age of 12 months. Might aswell get her use out of it....

On Thursday the kids were all told to come to school wearing their clothes back-to-front and/or inside out.

We were sent home a letter inviting all the parents top attend the carnival parade around the Town at 3.00pm, but that it may be postponed to take place the following Tuesday in case of bad weather.

On Friday morning it rained quite heavily and it seemed touch and go as to whether the parade would actually go ahead, but it brightened up towards lunchtime and we eventually received a text message from the school confirming that it would go ahead, but to bring an umbrella just in case of more rain.

The kids all got dressed up as majorettes and waited for the children from the 'Big School' to march down the road to the pre-school to collect them so they could then join in the parade. Each class was dressed differently, to reflect the Circus theme. There were clowns, Tigers, Strongmen etc....

After a good 20 minutes marching up and down the streets and waving at the locals who came out of their houses and bars and shops to wave, the parade made for the school yard where the paper mache statues that were being carried at the head of the march were set on fire ( as done at the las Fallas fiesta in Valencia & Denia next week ) and then then kids were given their 'Merienda' of cake and juice.

It passed an afternoon, if nothing else, and it was nice to get the kids interested and involved in a project for the whole week.

Comment on this Blog

I´m glad you took all that in your stride. I´ve suffered mentally and emotionally over such streams of demands for years! I get the impression that the teachers think we adults wait for every new command with baited breath, just dying to spend our time rummaging in old trunks, queuing up for bits of ribbon, ruining perfectly good tables with superglue etc etc. I´m of the opinion that if they want Carnaval they can just bloody well create all they need during the "plástica" classes (art). I´m hoping secondary school will be different and that I can have my own life back!
Mo - Sat, 10th Sep 2011

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