What Is Folklore?

“It’s about the folks!” It is all about what they do and how they do it—and passing along those practices and traditions. Folklore can be found in music, tunes and lyrics, dancing, working, building, cooking, preserving food, sewing, farming, gardening, playing games, playing with toys and toy making, storytelling, religious practices and customs, poetry, writing, medicine, superstitions, pop-culture…just about everything people do or have done in their daily lives could be considered folklore.

During her term as TFS board president, 2006-2007, Jean Schnitz wrote the following:

It is easy to confuse history with folklore. My favorite description of the difference is that history is what happened at a particular time in the past. Folklore describes how people coped with the events of history. For example, during the Great Depression beginning in 1929 and running through the early 1930s, history describes the conditions and events that happened during that time. Folklore includes how people managed to get through those times-the things they ate when food was scarce, the way they dealt with lack of money and jobs, the ways they entertained themselves with music and song to keep their spirits raised, and the stories that are told about those events.

See? You already knew about folklore—(even if you didn't realize it!)