Issue 25: Mardi Gras – 21st February

In many countries “Pancake Day” is known as Mardi Gras; literally “Fat Tuesday”. It is the day before the period of fasting before Easter, called Lent. The idea is to use up all your meat, fat and eggs, which are foods that would have been given up for Lent.

Rather than simply gorging on pancakes, the Mardi Gras celebrations take place over several days, usually as noisy and colourful processions.

This is a great opportunity for making your own simple instruments in class.

The basic yoghurt-pot shakers always go down well; rubber bands stretched over a decorated empty tissue box will produce a satisfying bonging sound with the possibility of having different pitches. Paper plates glued and taped together, and decorated with crepe paper streamers will look very festive; you can put some rice inside before you tape the edges to make them into shaker/tamborines.

The Crayola website is a good place to look for ideas; www.crayola.com; search on ‘music’ and ‘instruments’ to bring up a range of suggestions which you can adapt to suit what you have available to use.

Once you have a selection of home-made and brightly decorated instruments, and the paint is properly dry, you can make your own carnival procession using the instruments to accompany suitable songs and music. Or you could even perform the Drumkit Samba!

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