"The Wedding Dance" by Amador Daguio is a powerhouse of raw emotion for such a short story. As the reader is drawn into the story of love and cultural reality, it jars with our contemporary view of the world. Use this teacher guide to get the most out of the story and explore the deep symbols and themes it contains.
By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!
Awiyao and Lumnay most likely to belong to the Igorot people who inhabit the mountain areas of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. The Philippine islands were settled by various migrants from Southeast Asia for centuries. These peoples built up a number of different cultures and clan-based social structures on the many islands of the archipelago. In the 1500s, Spain colonized the islands, spreading Christianity and the Spanish language. Following Spain’s loss in the Spanish American war of 1898, the Philippines became a territory of the United States. During World War II, the islands were occupied by the Japanese until gaining their independence in 1945. The Igorot people maintained many of their traditional cultural practices through the late 19th century. Even today, dance and gangsa music form an important part of their celebrations. View the videos below to get a sense of the gangsa sound and the Kalinga wedding dance featured in “The Wedding Dance” by Amador Daguio.
Amador Daguio was born in the Ilocos province of the Philippines in 1912. He began writing poetry in high school and published his first poem before he graduated. Throughout his career, he taught at a number of schools in the Philippines and also worked as a lawyer, editor, reporter, and public relations officer for the Filipino government. In his writing, Daguio seeks to establish a pure Filipino voice, distinct from its colonizers. Even in English, Daguio’s writing is Filipino in essence. In “The Wedding Dance”, he draws upon the culture of his ancestors to explore Filipino traditions along with the universal themes of love, suffering, and societal expectations. Read more information about Daguio here.
A Quick Synopsis of "The Wedding Dance"
"The Wedding Dance" by Amador Daguio is a short story about a husband and wife, Awiyao and Lumnay, who had been married for seven years. In spite of being in love with his wife, Awiyao feels the need to marry again in order to have a son. At his second marriage celebration, Awiyao goes to check on Lumnay, knowing she is upset. Awiyao thought the answer to Lumnay's sorrow would be to have her join the other women during the wedding dance. Lumnay was in fact at his wedding, but left. She could not stand the idea of her husband marrying another woman because she could not give him children.
Essential Questions for "The Wedding Dance"
What are the expectations for men in Awiyao’s culture? What about for women?
How does your culture influence your decisions? Does it affect your plans for your future?
Is it true that love conquers all? When might this be untrue?
How important is having children to you? How important is it in your family? What about in your culture?
What is your legacy?
Wedding Dance Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers
A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
The setting is a mountain village of the Philippines where Awiyao has been remarried.
Awiyao has left his wife Lumnay, whom he loved very much. However, she couldn’t give him a child. He has now married Madulimay in hopes to have a son, who will continue his legacy. This is something Awiyao expresses as important in his culture. However, Lumnay is upset because she loves Awiyao and doesn’t want this separation.
Outside, the villagers are dancing in celebration of the wedding. Awiyao leaves to try and comfort Lumnay. He offers her many items of the life that they built together. Lumnay refuses them and clings to Awiyao, wishing he would stay.
Awiyao finally leaves to re-join the wedding and Lumnay runs into the hills.
Lumnay sits on the side of the mountain overlooking the blazing fire and dancing women, thinking about how her life has changed. She has a sense of desperation, isolation, and worthlessness.
The reader is left not knowing what will become of Lumnay.
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/1] Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/6] Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/7] Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film)
As students read, a storyboard can serves as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a story, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!
You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.
Awiyao’s former wife who is still in love with him, despite the fact he married another.
The lead male in the story who loves Lumnay, but left her because she didn’t produce children for him.
Awiyao’s new, younger wife, with whom he hopes to have children.
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama
[ELA-Literacy/RL/7/10] By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range
Symbolism is an important element in many literary works. Part of the Common Core ELA strands is introducing and explaining this complex concept. Like themes, these ideas are abstract and are often difficult for students to grasp on their own. This is why using a storyboard is helpful. Storyboards allow students to visually demonstrate their understanding of a concept like symbolism.
In the classroom, students could be to track the six symbols that this story uses to communicate idea about culture and marriage.
Six Symbolic Elements
The gangsas are culturally important. The sound of the gangsas represents the man in the wedding ceremony. Like the gangsas, they are strong and provide a beat to the dance, or a "beat to life".
Culturally, the dancing is a celebration of happiness. It is also a show of sexuality by the women. Because Lumnay has not produced a child, she feels ashamed to dance and show herself to the other men, as she believes no one will look at her.
The fire or flames signify the burning intensity of both love and hate that Lumnay feels in the situation. When Awiyao stirs the embers in Lumnay’s dark hut, he stirs up both of these feelings in her. Later, as Lumnay watches the bonfire from afar, her physical distance from the fire reflects her emotional separation from the man she loves.
The beads in the story symbolize the promise that Awiyao made to Lumnay. They are also very precious and are worth 20 fields. The fact that Awiyao gives them to Lumnay shows that he cherishes her, and that he still believes she has worth. Although Lumnay rejects the hut and field Awiayo offers her, she accepts the beads, suggesting her desire to remain connected to Awiyao.
A number of times the narrator draws the reader’s attention to the rattan floor as Lumnay pulls it apart. This is symbolic of their marriage unraveling.
The nighttime setting symbolically adds to the darkness and isolation that Lumnay feels as she runs away from the village. As she works her way up the dark mountain alone, she is unable to envision a path to the future. The reader, too, is left in darkness with the unresolved ending.
Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.
In the classroom, students can be to track the theme this story uses to communicate important messages to the reader.
"The Wedding Dance" Theme for Discussion
If you truly love a person, you must let them be happy
Have you ever heard the saying “if you love someone, let them go”? The story of Lumnay and Awiyao wrestles with this difficult issue. Despite how upsetting it is to Lumnay, she must let Awiyao go, not only because of their culture, but also because it is clear that he will not be happy without a child.
For this assignment, you can have students come up with times that they had to let go of something they love.
"The Wedding Dance" is a short story that grips you. It makes you think about the difficult situation the protagonist is in, and the uncertain future ahead of her.
Personal Favorite: I really enjoyed making the bamboo and rattan Filipino homes. I wanted to make them look rustic and functional.
Pro-tip: Use different angles of the bamboo homes to help tell the story more accurately. By using both indoor and outdoor scenes, you can contrast the happiness of the wedding dance with Lumnay's fear and sadness.
Did you know? You can find the characters for "The Wedding Dance" under the Cultural tab!
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