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Folklore vs. Folktales

June 21, 2017

          It was a simple mistake, I thought the books said folklore, when they actually said folktales...the result? I have 24 books of folktales from different counties in Ireland. It was fun to read them with the kids and get them engaged in the culture a little more, but really...I wanted folklore for the 24 counties. This mistake gave me the idea for this blog. I want to talk about the difference between folklore and folktales.

 

Folklore: : (1) traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances, or art forms preserved among a people (2) a branch of knowledge that deals with folklore (3) an often unsupported notion, story, or saying that is widely circulated. [1]

** An example of a book of folklore is Kevin Danaher's A Year in Ireland

 

Folktales: a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people. [2]

** An example of a book of Folktales is Richard Marsh's Meath Folktales

 

          So folklore is about things that are done like customs around hearth and jobs, dances, art forms (which includes story telling) as well as tales and sayings, while folktales are only the stories of the culture.  Folklore is very important to us as reconstructionists because in the surviving folklore we see remains of the practice of the people who came before us. Folktales can help us glean somethings but in essence I think they have more value as entertainment.

[1] "Folklore." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

 

[2] "Folktale." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.

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