What is folklore?

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"Folklore include stories, jokes, legends, riddles, the use and handling of plants for healing (among other uses), beliefs, traditional ways in which a country's native instruments are built and played and the ways of celebrating certain festivities.

    

Folklore  it is not simply another variant of anthropological or literary studies. Folk studies touch every dimension of the human experience and its artistic expressions. It can be said to arise from the study of literature, has its roots in anthropology, and contains

elements of psychology and sociology. In other words, folklore can be said to contain the study of cultures, visual and performing arts, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre, literature, linguistics, and history. Implicit in folklore studies is knowledge of how a community thinks, how they learn, how they communicate with each other, and how their identity is shaped."

     Custom folklore is perhaps the most difficult to characterize. A custom is something that is repeated through an action, the normal way of doing something. These are activities that are carried out with a certain style, and that may or may not be accompanied by certain words, gestures or actions, which separate them from the more common activities that are carried out during each day. They can be as simple as gestures used in everyday communication, such as hand contact when greeting a small human group, such as a gang or members of a sports team.''

''Another example that allows us to distinguish what folklore is in the games in which most children participate. For the past decade the Pokemon game has been popular with children, especially boys. The boys know about these games mainly through television. And the way this game became something of a fad, it can be considered part of popular culture. But suppose that in a particular school, the fourth graders get into the habit of playing this game every day, during the breaks, in the same corner of the schoolyard. The fact that they do it daily and in the same place becomes something that identifies that group in particular..., and the others begin to recognize the participating boys by their habit.' '

 

Spanish translation of quotations from the first chapter,  Folklore, from the book

Living Folklore. An Introduction to the Study of People and their Traditions

by Martha C. Sims and Martine Stephens

Utah State University Press/Logan, Utah, 2005