Brazil: Britto e Carnaval

It is time for a craft and an art activity!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is known the world over to have one of the biggest and best carnival festivals. It’s almost like the festival was made for Brazil, with the hot weather and samba music- for me? it is perfect!

Before I was born my family lived in New Orleans, Louisiana- famous for Mardi Gras. My mother is also originally from a different part of Louisiana so I grew up celebrating (a very clean version) of Mardi Gras. My mother would make king cake and my sister and I would play with the beads.

Mardi Gras and Carnival are a part of the same celebration. They are a feast and massive party that takes place in February or early March right before lent- a period of fasting leading up to Easter.

I want to get something straight, because I’ve found there is confusion about this…. Masks and costumes are worn at just about all pre-lent celebrations around the world. But there is a distinct difference in styles based on what country you are in.

For example, Mardi Gras is known for half masks and beads like this:

Where as Venice, Italy’s carnevale has full face masks and large costumes where you are completely covered like these:

Brazil, traditionally doesn’t have masks, they show a lot of skin and have gorgeous headdresses like this one:

So since we are learning about Brazil, we made our own Carnaval head dresses! Here’s how…

You will need:

  • Craft Foam, 18″ square
  • Craft glue
  • Jewels
  • Glitter
  • Feathers
  • Scissors
  • Something to measure your head with
  1. Measure your head from the back of the neck to the top of the head, cut an off-center circle out of the foam.
  2. Cut the outside into whatever shape you would like.
  3. Add glitter, jewels, and feathers to your heart’s content!
  4. To wear the headdresses slide them on the back of your head, they should sit on your head like a headband.

Next, ART!

One of my favorite modern Brazilian artist is Romero Britto. Here is an example of one of his heart paintings:

Romero Britto

I love introducing Martin to styles of art that he can recreate. So we headed outside with a large foam dice, a bucket of chalk and a key I wrote out on paper. To start with, I drew a rectangle in black with a heart in the middle and intersecting lines going through it. Then the fun began! I asked Martin to pick a section of the heart and then he would roll the dice.

Roll 1 was the color we would draw in and roll 2 was the design we would draw. He had a blast! I did most of the actual design drawing but he loved rolling the dice, handing me the correct color and doing his best to mimic what I was drawing. He loved it so much that later in the day we went back out and made a second one!

This activity was so much fun, that I wanted to share 🙂 I made a FREE printable key so you can make your own Britto heart at your house or school parking lot! I hope you have as much fun as we did!

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