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ESL Lesson Plan for Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras: Celebrate Around the World

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ESL Activities for Mardi Gras - Mardi Gras ESL Lesson
Mardi Gras : Celebrate Around the World

Mardi Gras

 Mardi Gras Vocabulary

Read the definitions and rearrange the letters to make words taken from the text.

  • A large group of people who walk through a town or city to celebrate a holiday or festival eaadpr
  • The eating of food as a noun


  • To change over time


  • Telling a secret


  • A connection with something


  • An object that covers the face


  • Special clothes that make the person look like an animal or a particular character


Parades, dances, colorful costumes, wild celebrations and fatty foods are the hallmarks of the popular holiday called Mardi Gras which is French for Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras is celebrated in many Catholic European nations, Canada and some parts of the United States. It is held the day before Ash Wednesday while it is a weeklong celebration in some nations. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday is traditionally a celebration involving the consumption of rich fatty foods before the ritual fasting during the Lenten Season which starts on Ash Wednesday, thus the name. Mardi Gras has later evolved into very festive celebrations whose reasons included thanksgiving. In some nations, ritual confessions are held during Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras celebrations differ from nation to nation. Most nations celebrate the holiday with festive parades, music, singing and dancing, colorful masks and costumes and food of all kinds. Because of its festive nature, it has grown to include non-Christian peoples and most are unaware of the true reasons for the celebrations. Mardi Gras is celebrated in many Christian nations like Italy, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and some parts of the United States with French heritage.

The foundation of the capital of the state of Louisiana happened at Mardi Gras which is why the festival was associated with the founding. When the capital was moved to New Orleans, the festival became strongly associated with New Orleans instead of the pre-Lent tradition. In recent times, Mardi Gras celebrations are also held in States without French heritage.

Comprehension Check

  • What does Mardi Gras mean?
  • Which religion is most associated with Mardi Gras?
  • When does the festival take place and what is its purpose?
  • Why is Mardi Gras important for the state of Louisiana in the USA?

Use of – ing Form

Below are sentences that include the –ing form. Decide which sentences is using:

  • - ing for the present continuous
  • - ing in the gerund form
  • - ing for participle clauses
  • Having lost his passport, Paolo stayed in Buenos Aires 3 more days.
  • I can’t meet you tonight I am having friends over to stay.
  • I prefer swimming to jogging.
  • Do you enjoy playing tennis?
  • Her favorite pastime is reading crime fiction.
  • After seeing the his picture in the paper she realized she knew him.

Look in the text about Mardi Gras and underline all the –ing forms and decide what the form is being used for.

Internet Research

Use the internet to research participle clauses.

Paragraph Analysis

Look at the text again and write one sentence summarizing the purpose of each paragraph


Text Analysis

Where may you find this type of text? Choose from the following and discuss your answer with a partner.

  • Newspaper
  • Story book
  • Scientific Journal
  • Travel Guide
  • A Book about Cultures

Free Discussion Practice

Talk to the people in your group about parades.

  • Have you been to a parade?
  • What kind of a parade was it?
  • What was the purpose of the parades.

Writing Practice

Think about a time when you had to wear special clothes of a costume. Write 3 – 4 paragraphs about:

  • Why you had to wear a costume
  • What you wore (the colors, fabric, etc.)
  • How the costume made you feel

Vocabulary Consolidation

Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with words from the first vocabulary activity.

  • I couldn’t see his face because he was wearing a _________.
  • Lung cancer is often _____ with smoking.
  • There was a _______ in the city yesterday to celebrate Presidents’ Day.
  • Although Christmas is a religious celebration, it has _____ over time into a more commercial holiday.