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Lesson Plan

Religious Syncretism and Semana Santa


Designed for a Spanish language and culture class, this lesson explores the ways religion and culture blend and bend and form something new. By studying the Guatemalan Semana Santa and alfombra traditions, this lesson digs into religious syncretism today.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to understand the concept of religious syncretism by creating alfombra designs, a common celebration during Semana Santa in Guatemala.



Lesson Details

  • Contributor: Maximo Alfaro Rivera
  • Grade Level: 9-12
  • Subject: Social Studies, Spanish, World Religions
  • Topics: Art & History, Latin America

Essential Question

  • How is religious syncretism present in modern times?
  • What is the importance of religious symbolism?
  • How can exploration of a particular tradition elucidate common themes in a culture?


  • Color pencils, scissors, and pencils to draw alfombra designs for students who would like to design their alfombras manually


Warm Up – As students watch the Seen By Me: Religions in Latin America video, they will list 4-6 images that they think show religious symbols.



Reflective essay: what was the experience of picking symbols important to your class like? If you had to design your own alfombra for your city/home/family/neighborhood/community what would it look like?

Contributor Bio

Maximo Alfaro Rivera, a first-year Spanish teacher from Chimbote, Peru. Currently, he teaches at Academy for College and Career Exploration.