Lesson 909: Mexican Carnival

Carnival or Mardi Gras is a time of parades and exuberant partying just before the forty days of Lent, when many Christians must adopt a more austere way of life. Latin America features hundreds of variations on the festivities. Mexico has two sensational parades like no others, in towns that are otherwise obscure, Huejotzingo in the state of Puebla and Tlayacapan in the state of Morelos. These two parties are as different as any two celebrations can be.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about two Mexican carnival celebrations in southern Mexico that are unique compared to other carnival celebrations.

Social Studies Standards

Culture: B, C

Discussion Prompts

  • Carnival appears to have different symbolism in different places through the Americas. Discuss the symbolic way Mexicans in those two towns express and celebrate their history. What stood out to you and why?
  • Bill Beezley states that carnival in that region is a group of people celebrating themselves, not trying to tell a story, not looking at the past or the future. What are some of the arguments you could use to contradict Beezley? How might his comments be a contradiction to historical inference?
  • Spaniard women are mocked in the parade, having high pitched voices and acting superior. Discuss what activities that these women might have participated that earned them a place in the parade.
  • Discuss the colonialism influences displayed and made fun of in the carnival in both Mexican states.

Lesson Activities

  • Many ballads tell stories, and it can be in the form of narrative poetic or musical verse. Research the ballad rhymed quatrains and write a ballad for the carnival in the video following that format.
  • Design and create a backpack inspired by the backpacks of the carnival of Huejotzingo for a local carnival celebration. Write an explanation about your choices for the backpack.
  • The carnival in Huejotzingo has three main acts: religious, war and romance. Create a nature collage that can depict these three very different and competitive themes. Write about the process and your choices.
  • Create a list of at least 5 ideas from the video that are still confusing to you. Create a list of 5 strategies that could help you better understand when watching the video. Make a list of conclusions about the two lists.


  • Aztec calendar
  • Battle of Puebla
  • chinelos
  • gun powder
  • independence
  • muskets
  • nahuat
  • obscure
  • Quetzalcoatl
  • reenactments


In the Americas Season 9 Lesson Episode 9