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The Folklore Portal

Folklore is the body of expressive culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, the forms and rituals of celebrations like Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites. Each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact. Just as essential as the form, folklore also encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. For folklore is not taught in a formal school curriculum or studied in the fine arts. Instead these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration. The academic study of folklore is called folkloristics.

Folklore topics

Selected article

Livre de chasse de Gaston Phébus - BNF Fr616 (Gaston Phébus et veneurs).jpg

Saint Guinefort was a 13th century dog that received local veneration as a saint after miracles were reported at his grave. His story is a variation on the well-travelled 'faithful hound' motif, perhaps better-known to Anglophones in the form of the dog Gelert. The cult of this dog saint persisted for several decades, until the 1930s, despite the repeated prohibitions of the Catholic Church.

Selected picture

This painting by François Gérard depicts Ossian, a Gaelic language poet whose works were either collected or manufactured by James Macpherson in 1760. Debate on the amount of traditional material versus contemporary invention in Macpherson's version continues.

Things you can do

Expand stubs: Viltis • Vytautas Beliajus

Articles needing expansion: Intangible Cultural Heritage • List of folk dance performance groups • National Folk Festival (USA)

Articles needing major improvement: Automobile superstitions • Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts

Requested articles:


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Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit.

—R. E. Shay

Folklore lists

Web resources

  • Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Journal of Folklore Research
  • American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
  • The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis J. Child
  • Directory of Irish and Celtic Folklore
  • Folk Beliefs in Modern Japan
  • Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature
  • Western Yugur Folklore
  • Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative
  • Folklore: Electronic journal of folklore

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

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