Cultural Activities and Ideas
The story of the Vejigante and Carnival:

Virtually all cultures in all eras have organized Carnivals to
celebrate different events. In Puerto Rico Carnival marks the
last days before the beginning of Lent.  It begins in February
and lasts until Ash Wednesday, which is forty days before
Easter.  Some elements of Carnival in Ponce, Puerto Rico came
to the island from Spain.  Other customs may have originated
from African and Native American traditions.
vejigante masquerador
In Ponce, a town in the south of the island, the carnival dates back to the mid-1700s and
involves revelry, masks, music and costumes. The masks are made of papier mache in
scary shapes with brilliant colors, horns and playful designs. The costumes are one
piece of large colorful fabric. Typical colors are yellow and red, the colors of the
Spanish Flag, and black and red, the colors of the town of Ponce.

A person dressed in the full Carnival costume of the papier mache mask and the fabric
costume is called a Vejigante (vey-hee-gant-eh) The Vejigante is a colorful character,
both fun loving and mischievous, that dances through the streets during Carnival.  
Every year, people enjoy watching the dance of the Vejigante.
Decorate your classroom with a mask!

Teach basic mask making skills to kids!

Make a cultural fair at school.

Put on a play of the Vejigante

Teach adults a new hobby
Instructions on how to make a Mask
Ingredients:  1-cup water                                 half a
lemon squeezed            clay form                         
 1/4-cup flour                                
newspaper                                aluminum foil    
 4 cups lightly boiling water       
Mix flour into one cup water until mixture is thin and
runny, stir into
4 cups boiling water. Gently boil and stir
for 3 minutes. Cool before using. It should have the
consistency of pudding. (Use with newspaper/newsprint
strips for Paper mache).Wrap your clay form (you can
shape it like an animal head out of clay and let dry) with
aluminum foil so the papier mache will not stick to the clay
form. Dip ripped strips of newspaper into your flour paste
and put onto your clay form. You should put between
5-10 layers of strips, let it dry in the sun and pop off your
clay form. For horns you can shape them from rolled up
poster board in the shape of cones. Cover them with
several layers of your papier mache and strips of
newspaper. Adhere them to your mask with the flour
paste or a glue gun and let dry. Lightly sand and paint.
Puerto Rico Masks was founded from the desire to maintain cultural traditions and share Puerto Rican
vejigante mask paper mache
Puerto Rico Masks
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