definition of folklore

The folklore is he set of traditions, customs and songs, among others, of a people, a region or a country, that is, folklore, also known as folklore or folklore, is the expression of the culture of a certain people and that therefore it will distinguish it from the rest; its music, its dance, its stories, its legends, its oral history, its jokes, its superstitions, its customs, its art, and all that product of the subcultures or social groups that coexist in the town.

Folklore or folklore is a term that refers to the popular and traditional culture of a region, a town or a country. It is a concept that encompasses very diverse activities: songs, legends, dances, crafts or celebrations.

In any of its manifestations, folklore allows us to understand the history of a people in a vital sense and not in a theoretical sense. In fact, knowing the folklore of a place we know how people dressed, what celebrations were important and how they had fun.

The word folklore is of English origin, since it comes from the term folk, which means people or people and from the word lore, which means tradition or knowledge. There is evidence that the term folklore was first coined in the 19th century by a British antiquarian (William John Thoms), who used the new concept to refer to popular antiquities.

Criteria for referring to folklore

As it is such a general term, it is relatively common for it to be used imprecisely. In this sense, it must be emphasized that not everything popular is folkloric. Folklore scholars establish a series of criteria to refer to these social or cultural manifestations

- It is a heritage shared by a people.

- It is transmitted orally from generation to generation.

- It is anonymous and normally there is no specific creator of the folkloric tradition.

- The popular folkloric manifestation usually has its origin in a specific social function (for example, a celebration to celebrate the end of the harvest).

- Folklore expression is a sign of identity of a group and its origin is usually found in the rural world.

- There are different ways and variants when it comes to expressing a folk heritage.

Significant examples of folklore in the Latin American context

- In Argentina, the National Folklore Festival has been held in the city of Cosquín since the early 1960s and is focused on national folk music.

- In the different states of Mexico we find traditional dances (dance of the coachmen, the quetzals or the feathers).

- In Ecuador, folklore is closely linked to religious tradition, especially the virgins and patrons of each region.

- In Chile, the Fiesta de la Tirana is celebrated annually, a festival in which mine workers perform dances such as antawaras, Chinese or diabladas.

- In Peru, the Candelaria festival, which is held in honor of the Virgen de la Candelaria, is a cultural manifestation with musical, religious and dance components.

Living, dying and dead folklore

It is not easy for folklore to stay alive, as globalization and the mass media are unifying forms of culture and collective entertainment.

We say that a folkloric manifestation is alive when it is rooted in a region (it is held periodically and has a high number of participants).

Folklore becomes dying when it is only known to a part of society, usually older people who remember the traditions of their childhood. Some groups create cultural associations so that folklore in crisis can regain its splendor.

We speak of a dead folklore when no one practices it anymore and it has become a relic of the past.

Photos: iStock - KalypsoWorldPhotography / Global_Pics

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