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ESL Festivals Lesson Plan

What Is Carnival? Origins Of The World's Biggest Party

Student Level


Video Length: 3:26

Updated on: 02/08/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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ESL Festivals Lesson Plan Description


This ESL festivals lesson plan on the origins of Carnival contains activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials for B2 upper intermediate students. By the end of the lesson, students will understand and be able to discuss the history and importance of Carnival, as well as use relevant vocabulary related to festivals and celebrations. Students will also be able to compare some different kinds of festivals around the world with Carnival and express their preferences when it comes to festivals.


This ESL lesson plan on festivals starts out by having students discuss various types of festivals and their experiences with them. They continue to discuss different topics about festivals and explore vocabulary that relates to festivities, cultural occurrences, and their impacts.


Students watch an informative video from The Economist about the origins of Carnival and how it started as a non-religious celebration in ancient Egypt, as well as the modern-day traditions. They do activities where they put events about Carnival's history in order and connect different places with their specific Carnival features and effects.


After watching the video, students talk about whether they would like to go to Carnival, and the possible downsides for the cities that hold these events. Then, they do an activity to understand the meanings of vocabulary words related to Carnival celebrations and use those new words to rewrite sentences.


In this activation, students look at and compare some different festivals around the world, like Oktoberfest and Burning Man and use the new words they’ve learned. They talk about the themes, what people do there, and why these festivals are important, comparing them to Carnival and sharing if they’d like to go to them

Benefits of using this festivals ESL lesson plan:

Cultural Relevance: Learning about Carnival is practical and relevant, particularly for students interested in cultural traditions and international festivals, providing insights into global cultural diversity.

Enjoyable Topic: Exploring the concept of Carnival can make language learning enjoyable, as it touches upon lively and colorful aspects of culture, stimulating interest and discussions.

Sharing Experiences: Teaching about Carnival offers an opportunity to encourage students to express their opinions, experiences, and preferences regarding festivals and to compare different cultural celebrations.

If you’re looking for an ESL lesson plan on festivals that specifically focuses on the origins and impact of Carnival for your upper-intermediate students, then this is the lesson for you! It contains rich and practical vocabulary that students can apply in any setting that involves talking about festivals, and thoroughly prepares students for communication about festival-related topics.

Video Description

Carnival started as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt and has grown to become one of the largest celebrations in the world. Today more than 50 countries celebrate the tradition, but where did the party start?

Lesson Activities


Festivals, Carnival


Sequencing Historical Events, Matching Activity


Short Definitions, CCQ Discussion, Rewriting Sentences


Festival Comparison Task, Quiz & Activity, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Festivals, Carnival

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