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Celebrating Lent and Mardi Gras

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 10 February 2012

Gemma Hunt marks the beginning of Lentand finds out about the colourful festival of Mardi Gras.

  • A colourful Rio carnival costume

    A colourful Rio carnival costume

  • Notes for programme 5: Celebrating Lent and Mardi Gras

    Themes: Lent; Mardi Gras; doing things differently; making changes.

    Programme content:

    SONG: Come and Praise, no 68 – ‘Kum Ba Yah’ (whole song)

    STORY: Mardi Gras Carnival Story by Nicky Grischotti

    REFLECTION: … on thinking about the themes of Lent; making changes for the better and considering how we help others by doing things differently.

    Pre-programme questions:

    • What do you know about the Christian season of Lent? Which festival in the Christian calendar does it lead up to?
    • Why do people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
    • Why do people sometimes give up something that they like for a short period, as Christians do during Lent?
    • Have you ever given something up for Lent or at any other time? If so, what and why?

    Story synopsis: Mardi Gras Carnival Story by Nicky Grischotti. Read by Alex Rivers.

    Leila is excited about the Rio Carnival because this year, for the first time, she will be part of the parade marching alongside her brother - Diego - and others from their Samba School. At a hectic dress rehearsal the night before Carnival Leila realises that she has lost part of her costume. Knowing that you can only be part of the parade with the whole costume, she is inconsolable. With no shops open to get more material before the parade her brother, who knows how much it means to her, gives his beloved Brazil football shirt to make Leila a new costume.

    After the programme:


    • The story takes place in the run up to Mardi Gras. What is Mardi Gras and what happens during the festival in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil?
    • What costume was Leila planning to wear for the carnival and what were the different parts needed to make it?
    • What happened to Leila’s costume and how did her brother Diego help her?


    • Have you ever been to a carnival with a parade, costumes and music? Perhaps you’ve even been in one. Share your carnival experiences as a class and say what you most like about them. Create a Word Bank of
    Carnival words, thinking about the event itself and what happens, but also feeling words, sound words and smell words!
    • Use the words from the Word Bank in a poem called ‘Carnival’. Try to give a sense of the rhythm, atmosphere and feelings of a big
    lively carnival. Think of the music you might hear at the carnival and use this to set the rhythm of your poem as if you’re writing words to fit the beat.
    • Pancakes are delicious with lemon and sugar but they can also have any filling or topping you can think of – sweet or savoury. Create a recipe for a new pancake meal or dessert.
    Write out your recipe in an easy to follow and clear format. Include pictures if you want.
    • Some people use the season of Lent to give up something or start to do something that helps other people. Think about something that you could give up or take up during Lent. You don’t have to tell anyone, it can be your secret. If it’s something hard to do, take it just one day at a time. You could make a star or tick chart and reward yourself with a good
    mark for every successful day.


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