What is Folklore?

The American Folklore Society (AFS) defines folklore as…

our cultural DNA. [Folklore] includes the traditional art, stories, knowledge, and practices of a people.” It is the stuff that makes up the creative cultural communications in our everyday lives. This includes topics ranging from “issues in the news, such as fake news, cryptozoology, legends, holidays, internet memes, traditional and world music, and  the supernatural.” People using frameworks of folklore hold jobs across sectors and professional environments, “studying topics such as education, healthcare, poverty, and immigration.” Thinking about everyday expressions of community and culture are important to any field, and that is what makes folklore such a special discipline.

AFS creatively summarizes “what folklorists do” when they write,

Folklore may include traditional customs, beliefs, stories, dances, and songs. It can be things that are not backed up by evidence (does Trump really alter everything with Sharpies? Did Robert Johnson really make a deal with the devil?), but it also includes the very real, experienced, evidenced cultural expressions and beliefs of people and the communities in which they participate.

For more information on the world of Folklore, visit the What Is Folklore? website linked here.

Did you know you can study folklore at academic institutions across the world?

Click this link to be directed to a list of folklore programs in North America