I love when I find that perfect resource that helps my students make connections and begin to understand a cultural tradition that is different from their own. I want them to understand the deep, cultural significance of the holidays and experience the rich traditions for themselves. I wish that, one day, I could take my students out of the classroom and into the community to see exactly how Day of the Dead is celebrated. I found a Day of the Dead cultural video from “Moo!” at Teacher’s Discovery does all that ~ and more!
There are so many things I love about this video. First, it is filmed entirely on location in Oaxaca, Mexico. Students experience the sights and sounds of a Mexican market, visit the home of a local, and watch celebrations that take place in the cemeteries and on the streets.
Second, the video is narrated by two students, Itzli, a girl from Oaxaca and Derrick, a student visiting from Michigan. Itzli takes Derrick through the community and teaches him all about the holiday. The interactions that take place between them are real and unrehearsed. Students can easily relate to them.
Third, this video is authentic. It was filmed live on the streets. Students learn about the holiday naturally while observing Itzli and Derrick as they make preparations for the celebration. Students can identify what types of decorations are needed for an altar, what types of foods are prepared, how an altar is set up, and see how the community comes together to remember those who have passed on.
Lastly, this video is meaningful. Derrick openly asks about people’s views on death. We learn from their responses that death is not something to be feared. It is a happy time because death is a new beginning. Derrick sees firsthand how families and the community come together to celebrate and continue the traditions that have been passed down for hundreds of years. This helps bring about a true understanding of the cultural perspective of this holiday and leads to some engaging classroom discussions.
[Length 25 minutes. Available for instant download.]
Do you have a favorite resource for teaching about Day of the Dead?
I have created several Day of the Dead activities that your students will LOVE. Click on the images below for a fun way to extend & reinforce the cultural vocabulary presented in video!