Inside: Día de Muertos songs to teach in the Spanish classroom. Day of the Dead Songs for Spanish class. Day of the Dead Unit in Spanish class using Día de Muertos songs.
Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and other countries with large Hispanic populations. The holiday celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away and often includes altars decorated with photos, flowers, and food. One of the most important parts of the holiday is music, which is often used to remember the deceased and celebrate their lives. You can see other ideas for Día de Muertos in this blog post.
There are many great Spanish songs for Día de los Muertos that can be used to teach in the classroom for Música miércoles. If you are wondering what to do with these songs, check out the new blog post Talk About Music in Spanish Class. Here are a few classic favorites:
“La Llorona” by Angela Aguilar
First, “La Llorona” is a traditional Mexican folk song that tells the story of a woman who drowned her children in order to be with her lover. The song is often used to teach about Mexican folklore, and can also be used to discuss topics like infidelity and tragedy. You can connect the song to the film Coco or the book La Llorona de Mazatlán.
“Amor Eterno” by La Santa Cecilia
Next, is a classic love song that is often played at Dia de Muertos celebrations, “Amor Eterno”. The lyrics talk about how love never dies, even after death. You could use the music to discuss topics like loss and grief. It is covered by many different artists, but I personally prefer this version.
“De colores” by Jose Luis Orozco
Also, “De colores” is a traditional Mexican folk song that talks about the colors of nature. Typically we see this song in elementary curriculums to teach young children about colors. But, it could also be used to discuss topics like growth and change. “De colores” is an excellent choice for students who are just starting to learn Spanish, as it is relatively simple and repetitive.
Next, “El Cascabel” is a traditional Mexican song that dates back to the 18th century. The song is about a snake charmer who has a pet snake named Cascabel, or “rattle.” The snake charmer tries to hide his snake from government officials, who have banned snake charmers from working in public. I enjoy the representation of this female mariachi group and how it shows traditional music from Mexico.
Next, “La Bamba” is a traditional Mexican folk song. Ritchie Valens made it popular in 1958. In the song, a young man named Manuel dies young. In the song, Manuel’s mother tells him not to worry about death, because “death comes for us all.” This would be a more obscure song to use for Día de Muertos. FYI I really did not know the history of this song before & it happens to be one of my go-to karaoke songs 🙂
Also, “Las Mañanitas” is a traditional birthday song that is often played during Dia de Muertos celebrations. The song is about a young girl who wakes up on her birthday to find her friends and family singing to her. There are many versions of this song, but this one is from Vicente Fernández. (There is also a newer Netflix show about him).
“Calaverita” by La Santa Cecilia
Finally, I saved the best for last since Calaverita is by far my favorite song to use for Day of the Dead. There are lots of great resources to use for the song here.
What to do with the song in Spanish?
- Chat about any song in Spanish using the NEW Music Find Someone Who!
- Get lots more ideas here >> What to do with a song in Spanish class
Want music & more to start Spanish class for 3 weeks?
- Para Empezar – Day of the Dead – Class starters for 3 weeks around Día de muertos
- Also, learn more about how I use music to start class > Música miércoles
- Finally, want themed songs for baile viernes > Halloween Dance Videos
Day of the Dead Movie resources for Spanish Class
Want to go deeper with a film related to Día de Muertos? Check out these resources
- Coco in Spanish Class – blog post
- Coco movie guide (both Spanish & English with key)
- Coco Freebie (character intro slides & post-viewing activities)
- The Book of Life Blog Post (includes character introduction slides)
- El Libro de Vida novice film guide
- Tierra Incógnita – a spooky show for Halloween, but without the connection to Day of the Dead
- 10 Appropriate movies for Spanish class – all my top suggestions
- My Movie Guide Bundle for Spanish class
More Day of the Dead resources for Spanish Class
To expand this movie into a deeper exploration of Día de los Muertos, check out the resources below.
- Day of the Dead – Find Someone Who – Interpersonal speaking practice
- Cultural Reading: Mexico & Día de los Muertos – Novice interpretive reading
- Finally, here are all of my resources together in a Muertos Bundle.
- Plus, bonus Coco Freebies – sign up below
Día de Muertos is a holiday with a rich tradition of music. There are many great Spanish songs for Día de los Muertos that can be used to teach in the classroom. From traditional folk songs to classic pop tunes, there is a Dia de los Muertos song for everyone. What will you be teaching your students this year?