The Great Tradition of English Folklore

Folklore refers to the customs, beliefs, and values of a community. Since they originally passed down by word-of-mouth, they can be combined together with whimsical results. Examples of English folklore include the Legends of King Arthur, and the Story of Robin Hood. Nobody is quite sure where imagination replacesKing_Henry_V_at_the_Battle_of_Agincourt,_1415 truth in these.

Hence the tales of English folklore are an amalgam of stories, some true, some fanciful. They come mostly from Celtic, Germanic, and Christian religious traditions. In this regard is important to note that folklore is not only spoken history. Folklore is also present in songs, and rituals like Morris Dancing.

Folklore is a Rich Rollercoaster of Emotions

Events like the Great Fire of London, and the Black Death were so painful that adults wanted to forget them. Little children saw things differently. Their nursery rhymes of ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’, and ‘Ring a Ring ‘o Roses’ are vital clues to what really happened in those half-forgotten days. This makes them as valuable as gold.

The mediaeval English peasantry lived in a half-imaginary world of hobgoblins, dragons, elves, and witches when folklore was their only source of knowledge. Thus, elements of paganism appear in Herne the Hunter, and Maypole celebrations. Much the same is true of English church traditions like the Harvest Festival.

English Folklore is Precious History

If we wiped away the tapestry of folklore, all we would really know about our past would be in books and paintings that are sometimes just the opinions of their authors. English Folklore is arguably a sounder, more reliable record of the past, because the collective accepted it as true, preserved it, and passed it on.

Thus, English Folklore presents an opportunity for English speaking people worldwide to appreciate a little more about this rich chapter in history. When we disparage Folklore and write it off as valueless, we ridicule our past. It just makes more sense to embrace it, understand it, and learn from it so we do not repeat the errors of the past.