Word Web, an English thesaurus/dictionary published in 1998 describes 'Folklore' as: -
The below is an extract from 'The Popular Encyclopedia' which was published in England about 1895, over 100 years ago.
FOLKLORE, a useful term of recent introduction into the English language, and, from the great variety of matters to which it is applied, somewhat difficult of definition.
It includes all popular superstitions and superstitious observances whatever they relate to, as to births, marriage, diseases, death, burial; all popular sayings and beliefs relating to the weather, the influence of the moon, etc., beliefs which are sometimes founded on observation, but which are fully as frequently unfounded and erroneous; all traditional mythology and beliefs in supernatural beings and agencies; ceremonies observed at popular festivals, as Halloween or May-day; ancient songs and ballads, popular rhymes, nursery tales, etc.
Folklore, though it takes cognizance of many apparently trivial matters, is of great importance in the science of comparative mythology, and helps to throw much light on the relationships between races, and on the origin and development of religious beliefs and ceremonies.
It is, therefore, of great assistance to the ethnologist, the sociologist, and the historian, as well as to the student of comparative mythology and of the science of religion.
It has attracted much attention in recent times, and in Germany has been studied with scientific method by the brothers Grimm, Felix Liebrecht, and others.
Among English books on the subject, we may mention Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646), Aubrey's Miscellanies (1696), Brand's Popular Antiquities; Hone's Every-day Book, Year Book and Table Book; Chambers' Book of Days; Andrew Lang's Custom and Myth, etc.
Two of the titles of the above books, are puzzling (Hone's Every-day Book, Year Book and Table Book plus Chambers' Book of Days ) but then remember the old rhyme which details days and months : -
The Georgian year was established in the 1600's ask Harry.
Microsoft Encarta 99 Encyclopedia. 1993-1998 defines Folklore, as follows : -
They state that folklore materials may be roughly classified into five general areas:-
Folk beliefs include ideas about the whole range of human concerns, from the reasons and cures for diseases to speculation concerning life after death. This category therefore includes folkloristic beliefs (superstitions), magic, divination, witchcraft, and apparitions such as ghosts, and fantastic, mythological creatures.
The second classification, that of traditions, includes material dealing with festival customs, games, and dances; cookery and costume might also be included, by extension.
The third category, narratives, includes the ballad and the various forms of folktales and folk music, all of which may be based in part on real characters or historical events.
The category of folk sayings includes proverbs and nursery rhymes, verbal charms, and riddles.
Folk arts, the fifth and only non-verbal category, covers any form of art, generally created anonymously among a particular people, shaped by and expressing the character of their community life.This Web Site was designed by Tom