Folklore is so much a part of our everyday
life that we don't always stop to think about it. Family
traditions, holidays, special sayings, and foods, all these are
part of folklore.
Today, folklore is often defined as knowledge
or forms of expression (folk arts) that are passed on from one person
to the next by word of mouth or the oral tradition. These different
kinds of expressions include songs, rhymes, folktales, myths, jokes,
and proverbs. Folklore
is passed on among
many different kinds of groups; such as family members, friends,
classmates, or people you work and play with.
In this activity, you will be able
to share some of your own folklore; whether it is games, recipes,
proverbs, songs or stories.
Kinds of Folklore
Folklorists recognize different areas, or categories of folk expressions.
Here are some of the categories, to help you think about folklore
you might see in your school, family or community:
These are songs, lullabies and dance games, poetry, jokes, folktales,
riddles, proverbs, myths, and special sayings.
These are objects such as special kinds of jewelry, home decorations,
puppets, quilts, clothing, or musical instruments. Material culture
may also include foods and special family recipes.
These are special customs and rituals such as throwing rice at a
wedding for "Good luck." It includes family and local (community)
customs and celebrations. It also includes the way you might use
folklore in your own thoughts. For example, once when I was nine
years old, I saw a best friend being teased by a school "bully."
At first, I was afraid to interfere, but then I remembered the saying
"a friend in need is a friend indeed." The proverb helped me to
organize my feelings and take an action. Do you ever hear or remember
proverbs in this way? Then you are using "behavioral folklore!"