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Thread: What is Folklore & Mythology: Definitions and Info

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    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    near Tacoma, WA

    What is Folklore & Mythology: Definitions and Info

    Updated 12.31.2006
    More to come!

    This thread is for reference/encyclopedia-like uses, it is not a thread for commenting and discussions.
    If there is a mistake please let me know in a PM.
    If there are things that you would like to have added-- let me know (In a PM). I'll post it right away! Seriously.

    For suggestions post in this thread:
    G&G-- what do you all want to see?
    Or PM me.

    For other deity and mythology resources:
    Helpful Sites For Mythology and Deity Info

    What is Folklore?
    Definition: The traditional beliefs, practices, customs, stories, jokes, songs (etc.) of a people, transmitted orally or by other non-institutional means.
    Also Known As: folklife
    Example: Unlike literature, the folklore of a culture is rarely written down or published except by those who collect and study it.
    (From here)

    Categories of Folklore:
    • Ballad
    • Blason Populaire
    • Counting rhymes
    • Costumbrista
    • Craft
    • Custom
    • Folk play
    • Epic poetry
    • Festival
    • Folk speech
    • Folk art
    • Folk belief
    • Folk magic
    • Folk metaphor
    • Folk poetry and rhyme
    • Folk simile
    • Folk song
    • Folk tale
      • Animal tale
      • Fairy tale
      • Jocular tale
    • Games
    • Holiday lore and customs
    • Joke
    • Legend
      • Urban (or Contemporary) legend
    • Material culture
    • Myth
    • Memorate
    • Proverb
    • Riddle
    • Superstition and popular belief
    • Taunts
    • Weather lore
    (From here)

    What is a Fable?
    A fable is a short, pithy animal tale, most often told or written with a moral tagged on in the form of a proverb. Thus to convey a moral is the aim of most fables, and the tale is the vehicle by which this is done, providing both an illustration of and compelling argument for the moral.

    As a specific development in form and content of the animal tale, the fable is comparatively sophisticated and does not originate as a folktale, though it may make use of folk material, and once composed may be absorbed into a culture and exchanged as traditional oral folklore.

    The oldest known fables are either Aesopic (Greek) in origin, or from Asian (Indian and/or possibly Semitic) roots — both dating back several centuries B.C.E.
    (From here)

    What is Mythology?
    Mythology is a field of study that is not easily defined, being as much a composite of many other subjects of human inquisitiveness and investigation as it is a unique arena all its own.

    Ultimately it might be said that the student of mythology is one who conducts inquiries into some of the most basic concerns of humankind —
    • Who are we?
    • How was the world made?
    • What is the correct manner to conduct oneself during religious ceremonies?
    • What is the relationship between inner life and outward appearances?
    • What happens to the individual at the moment of death, and after?
    — as these have been expressed by the many and diverse cultures in the world both past and present, including one's own, through the traditional spiritual stories — or myths — to be found within them.
    (From here)

    What is Myth?
    A myth is a story containing within and having about it certain identifiable characteristics. These are, specifically, that:
    • It is a religious story — no matter from which culture — and will therefore involve the existence and activities of a supernatural being, such as a god, a demigod, a goddess, or several such entities;
    • It will seek to explain at least some aspect of the origin or manner of things (where people came from, how rainbows first came to be, why whales have blow spouts, why people and animals feel hunger) if not of the very universe itself;
    • It is not an isolated tale but connects up in some significant way with other similar stories within a culture, involving other deities who collectively form a pantheon;
    • Its authorship is communally shared, that is, attributable to no single person, and it came into existence through oral tradition, and therefore usually has more than one version;
    • It is believed to be essentially true by those in the society for whom it is one part of a cultural mythology.
    A story will have all of the above characteristics else it cannot properly be classified as a myth, but may be a legend or a folktale.
    (From here)

    (I have a feeling these link lists will fill up pretty quick, when that comes I'll make a seperate sticky for them!)

    Some links for Folklore:
    Some links for Mythology:

    General & Multiple Pantheons
    Greek & Roman
    Last edited by Agaliha; May 7th, 2007 at 04:16 PM.



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