Category: Folklife

Animal Folklore: A Mole in the Hand

Today, moles are usually unappreciated residents of our gardens and fields, but they are embedded in folklore and for centuries were used in remedies.

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Luke Stephenson & Helen Champion: The Clown Egg Register

For over 70 years, the oldest established clowning organization has been painting the faces of clowns on eggs. Each is a record of a clown's unique identity

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Bringing Venetian Folklore to the Big Screen: The Plague Doctor

Though we’ve not lost any of our academic appreciation for the hearthside story or campsite tall tale, it cannot be denied that we as a species have moved into the art of…

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Folk-Ore: The Magical Power of Blacksmiths and Their Enduring Stories

The folklore of iron and smithing has been common since prehistory, and one of the oldest folktales tells of a blacksmith forging a deal with the devil.

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Sheep Folklore: The Life and Lore of the Shepherd

Sheep have been integral to British life for thousands of years, and a long tradition of lore has developed around shepherds and their flocks.

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The Clarke Charm Collection: Of Witch Bottles, Witch Cakes and Hag Stones

Clarke’s charm collection reveals a range of uses, including cures for sore throats, the protection of seafarers from drowning, and good luck charms.

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Fighting Magic With Magic in Italy: The Good Walkers

The Benandanti were a surprising third party in the fight of good versus evil in Medieval Italy; one that not even the Holy Inquisition could make sense of.

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Spring in Southeast Asia: Diasporic Chinese New Year Folklore

Here are a couple of folklore and stories associated with Chinese New Year. I have grown up with these stories as they are part of tradition and culture.

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What is First-footing and Can It Improve Your Year?

First-footing as a New Year custom is most common in Scotland and the north of England, but it does have regional, and international, variations.

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Christmas Superstitions: A Festive Survival Guide

Many will declare Christmas to be nothing but “a way for card companies to make money, harrumph!” Whilst Christmas has been heavily commercialised, in recent years especially, the traditions of this time…

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Íslensku Jólasveinarnir: the Yule Lads of Iceland

On the evening of 11th December, Icelandic children place shoes on the sills of their windows, before they go to bed.

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Open the Door and Let Us In: Mummers at Midwinter

The appearance of a Turkish knight, Beelzebub, and a horse’s skull mark out a centuries old winter tradition in rural communities across Britain.

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Midwinter Celebrations: Yule, Saturnalia, and Christmas Folklore

Christmas traditions have evolved through the centuries, many of them have ancient origins linked to the midwinter festivals of Yule and Saturnalia

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Krampus: The Christmas Devil of Alpine Folklore?

Beware! Lock up your children, clutch your mince pies, and huddle in against the snow. Haven’t you heard? Krampus is coming to town …

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A Witchy Interview with #FolkloreThursday’s Willow Winsham

@DeeDeeChainey interviews @WillowWinsham about her book, Accused: British Witches Throughout History

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Halloween Folklore and Superstitions

We all know that Halloween, as a festival, is not an invention of the trick-or-treating Americans but it is far older than many people realise.

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Dark Folklore: The Hand of Glory in Folk Magic

We’ve all heard of the infamous hand of glory, the hand of a dead man, hung for his crimes, and it’s often said that it could be used to open any lock.

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Folklore Festivals: Five Italian Folklore-Filled Weekends in October

Italian festivals offer glimpses of life in a previous time through food, re-enactments and sporting events. These events will satisfy history buffs and foodies alike. PALIO degli ASINI – Race of the…

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All Hael! All Hael! Singing with the Kibbo Kift

What sort of music did a 1920s utopian youth movement fiercely opposed to mainstream society actually like? The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift (‘KK’) were creatures of their time.

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Purgatory in Spanish Folklore: The Night of the Ánimas

In rural Spain, the night still belongs to the ánimas, the spirits of the dead who didn’t go straight to Heaven or Hell.

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Arcadia Britannica: A Modern British Folklore portrait by Henry Bourne

Arcadia Britannica is an ongoing photographic portrait project of the myriad of different British folklore traditions and customs

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Slavic Traditions: The Garlands of Midsummer’s Eve

In Poland, Midsummer's Eve garlands would be set on water, their path on the surface foretelling the owner’s future, and protecting from spells and curses.

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Morris Folk: Making History

The Morris Folk project arose from a desire to document something as ephemeral as dance in new and innovative ways.

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Upcoming Event: The Ballad of British Folklore

We've just received an exciting press release about an exhibition charting the history of the The Museum of British Folklore.

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Cicorc Conwy: Lucky Cork Sea-Dogs

These cicorc (or cork-dogs) were seen as good luck charms and also gave the sailors something else to think about whilst preparing for long voyages.

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From the Gorgon to the Gift Shop: A Brief Archaeology of the Evil Eye

The matiasma is an apotropaic amulet designed to ward off the evil eye in Greek folklore.

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Folklore of the Sea: A Curiosity of Maritime Myths and Traditions

Sailors have traditionally been associated with many myths and magical aspects of the sea, travellers and bringers of tales and far-off treasures.

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The Polish Tradition of Holy Sepulchre Guardians

A traditional festival is held annually in South Eastern Poland where locals re-enact what may be an historical event, yet is certainly a local legend. Legend tells then when Polish soldiers returned to their village on Good Friday…

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Trees: Wisdom at the Root of Folklore

When we stand beneath a tree and gaze up into its branches, perhaps running our fingers over the textured bark and admiring the rich collage of mosses and lichens

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The Burryman’s Day: Marking Time, Place and Community in Modern Scotland

The Burryman is a seasonal tradition taking place each August in South Queensferry, Scotland. Although the origins are now obscure, it is still a vital part of the town's year

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