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30 “Must Watch” Videos in Cultural Anthropology: Religion

Stained glass windows in a spiral form

Have you ever wanted to watch Anthropology related videos, but doing a quick search doesn’t bring up the results you are looking for? Or, maybe you don’t have the time to sort through thousands and thousands of results to find a cool documentary? Either way, my blog post series on must watch videos in Anthropology is made for you! 

In the last post in this series, I shared 20 Cultural Anthropology videos that focused on the topic of marriage. In this post, I’m sharing 30 “must watch” videos that all focus on the topic of religion. Future blog posts will deal with other topics.

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to live in another country? And, what if your religion was different than the majority? Then check out this first video, “Being Muslim in Japan.” This video shows the life of Muslims who live in Japan. It explains things like how they get halal food, how they pray, and shows other aspects of daily life.

Must watch videos religion. Image of young Buddhist men in orange robes sitting in rows with eyes closed.

Would you ever live in a garden shed? Video 2 is called, “Buddha in Suburbia.” This video shows a Buddhist man who lives in England, in a garden shed. It follows his mission to find some lost teachings before they disappear forever.

What if your feet could never touch this ground? That’s the situation in video 3, “Life of a Kumari Goddess: The Young Girls Whose Feet Never Touch Ground.” This video shows the tradition of worshipping Kumari in Nepal, which is a young girl who is the human embodiment of a goddess. These young girls spend their lives in a temple, and when they reach puberty, they transition back into society.

Want to learn more about these Kumari children? Then check out video 4 called, “Nepal’s Living Child Goddess.” Like the previous video, this video shows the tradition of worshipping Kumari in Nepal. This video also features a lady in her 60’s who was a Kumari 50 years ago.

You’ve probably heard of voodou—but what do you actually know about it? Video 5 is called, “Meet the Vodou Priestess Summoning Healing Spirits in Post-Earthquake Haiti.” This video follows a vodou priestess in Haiti as she summons spirits to help her community and prepares for the celebration of the dead.

Must Watch videos religion. Image of a woman's eyes--the rest of her face and head is covered with a scarf.

You’ve probably seen Muslim women with different styles of headcoverings, but do you know what these women think about wearing them? Check out video 6, “Islam Unveiled.” This video goes around the world to four continents and examines the topic of women in Islam. It asks women who wear headcoverings how they feel about wearing it.

Did you ever wonder why some young women become nuns? Check out video 7, “Hidden: A Life All for God.” This video shows the daily lives of Christian nuns at a monastery in the United States. It asks them why they decided on that kind of lifestyle, and what it means to them.

Did you ever experience a vision that told you to do something? Then check out video 8, “The Shaman’s Last Apprentice.” This video follows a woman from England who had a vision of a shaman calling her to come to him. So, she went to a small village in the Amazon jungle to become a shaman.

Would you be willing to work in a monastery to pay for the sins of your family members? Video 9 is called, “My Stolen Childhood: Understanding the Trokosi System.” This video shows the trokosi system in West Africa, where girls are forced to live with priests in shrines for their entire life. This is done to pay for the sins of other family members. 

Image of a Mormon temple, with mountains in the background.

Would you ever want to have more than one husband or wife? Video 10 is called, “Mormon Polygamy: Leaving the Cult.” This video shows young men and women who left The Latter Day Saints Church in the United States. This Church is part of the Mormon religion, and this specific group practices polygamy. 

You’ve probably heard about witches and witchcraft. But what do you really know about it? Video 11 is called, “Witchcraft in Romania.” This video shows witches in Romania and examines how they influence modern society. It shows different rituals and the celebration of the Summer Solstice.

Did you know that not all Jews practice their religion in the same ways? Video 12 is called, “Strictly Kosher.” This video shows three families in a community of Jewish people in England. Some are more religious than others, but they are all Jewish.

Image of a Catholic nun and a woman talking together while seated in a church pew.

Would you ever want to become a nun? Video 13 is called, “Why Do Young Women Choose to Become Nuns?” This video shows young women who choose to become Catholic nuns. It shows the daily life of these nuns, including prayer seven times per day. 

What do you know about shamans and their powers? Video 14 is called, “Shamans of Siberia: Powerful Healers Chosen By Spirits.” This video is about shamanism in Siberia. These shamans are said to cure illnesses and control the weather. 

Do you think women should be allowed in mosques? Video 15 is called, “No Women in Mosques.” This video is about Islamic mosques in Britain. Over half of these mosques do not allow women to enter. Some women want to change this situation.

Image of a pentagram on a wooden table with red candles in a dark room.

Pagans and Wiccans. You’ve heard of them, but you may not know much about them. So check out video 16 – “Pagan and Wiccan Practitioners Share Their Personal Journeys.” This video shows pagans in an urban community in the southern United States. Some practitioners describe their personal journeys to becoming pagan.

Many young people leave their faith and then come back. That’s what happens in video 17, called, “Unorthodox.” This video is about a young woman who left her Orthodox Jewish community. She follows three Jewish teenagers who also left the Jewish faith, but then returned to the community.

What do you know about the history of Wicca and witchcraft? Video 18 is called, “Britain’s Wicca Man.” This video is about witches who practice Wicca in Britain. A historian who studies Wicca looks into the history of witchcraft, and interviews modern witches.

Sparkling white mosque against a blue sky

You’ve probably heard of Islam, but have you ever heard of punk Islam? Video 19 is called, “Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam.” This video follows the new musical movement of punk Islam, called “Taqwacore.” A group of musicians travel all over the United States, and even go to Pakistan, bringing their unique punk music with them.

Interested in voodou? Video 20 is called, “The Faces of God.” This video follows a man as he explains the practice of voodou in Haiti. He shows where offerings are made, visits shrines, and explains the ideas behind that religion.

You’ve probably heard of Jesus. But do you think he walks the earth today? Video 21 is called, “For the Love of God: The Man Who Thinks He’s Jesus.” This video shows Alan John Miller, who believes he’s Jesus. Many say he is a dangerous cult leader, but he has followers worldwide.

Have you ever thought about converting to another religion? Check out video 22 – “Mum, I’m a Muslim.” This video is about three white British women who converted to Islam. It interviews them and asks how they converted and why, and what difficulties they have faced in doing so. 

Three Christian crosses against a teal background

Have you ever listened to Christian rock music? Video 23 is called, “God’s Country: A Trip to America’s Biggest Christian Music Festival.” This video follows a Christian youth group in the United States, and shows Creation, one of the biggest Christian music festivals.

Could you fast during the day for a whole month? Video 24 is called, “Fasting for 29 Days With a Muslim Family During Ramadan.” This video is about a young man who spends the holy month of Ramadan with a Muslim family in the United States. It shows his experience doing the daily prayers, fasting, and eating.

You might think that all biker gangs are bad. But, that’s not true. Video 25 is called, “Riding for Jesus: Inside South Carolina’s Christian Biker Gang.” This video is about a Christian biker gang in the United States. It interviews members of the club, and showcases their Christian beliefs. 

Would you give up your family and your phone to become a monk? Video 26 is called, “Giving Up Your Family and Phone for Life as a Monk.” This video is about a young woman who gives up her material life to become a Jain monk. Jainism is becoming more popular, and this video examines why.

Hindu statutes

Could you live a simple life, without all the materialistic things we all have today? Video 27 is called, “Beyond.” This video is about Hindu monks in India who rejected their material lives and dedicated their life to Hinduism. It shows a Hindu festival as well.

When you hear about shamans, you might not immediately think of Korea, but there are shamans there! Video 28 is called, “Shaman of the Sea.” This video is about one of Korea’s leading shamans. It shows her performing rituals and trying to keep ancient traditions alive. 

You might have heard of the Mormon faith. But did you know know that there are different groups of Mormons? Video 29 is called, “Polygamist Mafia: Escaping the Kingston Clan.” This video is about the Kingston Clan, a splinter group of the Mormon faith in the United States. It shows the story of a young man who left the group. 

Would you ever want to become a shaman? Then check out the last video, “So, You Want to Be a Shaman.” This video is about shamans in Siberia. It shows shamanic rituals, and the initiation rite for a new shaman.

I hope you enjoyed this list of 30 “must watch” videos in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on the topic of religion. If you found this post helpful, then please share it on social media! Want me to make a video on a specific topic? Just let me know in the comments below. You can also view a video version of this post below.

Thanks for reading!

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