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Modern Languages - Festival atmosphere

What it's all about

Halloween offers the opportunity to create a fun, culture-based lesson, but why not broaden it beyond spiders, witches, ghosts and ghouls, writes Anna Winskill.

Explore other countries' traditions for festivals at this time of year, including their food, festivities and music. Lessons based on these can be fun and you can still weave in specific vocabulary or grammar objectives.

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico's Day of the Dead festival is an obvious starting point. A resource from TES language adviser Rachel Hawkes on the Day of the Dead will help you delve into its history and necessary vocabulary (bit.lyTESDayoftheDead).

To create a festive mood, ask pupils to prepare Pan de Muerto, a sweet egg bread, to bring in and share with the class. Review the recipe in class, perhaps using Univision's short YouTube video (bit.lyR2ZZ7H). Alternatively, try a recipe for the Mexican drink atole.

Martinstag, or St Martin's Day (11 November in Austria and Germany), is another popular Catholic holiday. Celebrating the life of a Roman soldier famous for his acts of kindness, it corresponds with harvest time, feasts washed down with newly produced wine and the end of preparations for winter. It is the Austro-German lantern procession, however, that is most popular with children.

Then there is the celebration of All Saints' Day (La Toussaint, 1 November), which precedes All Souls' Day and is a public holiday in France, when families visit the graves of their relatives.

What else?

Try rhawkes' Day of the Dead lesson. bit.lyTESDayoftheDead. Or find out more about Martinstag using a PowerPoint and worksheet shared by frenchgerman. bit.lyTESMartinstag.

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