Skip to main content

What is Folklore

Folklore is a convenient name for a highly diversified body of lore, folk wisdom, and folk art that is passed on from generation to generation, most often without benefit of the printed page and without formal instruction. Involved in this process of popular transmission is a body of material passed on orally, such as folk tales, fables, jests, anecdotes, legends, folk beliefs, folk medical prescriptions, folk speech, proverbs, riddles, children's verses and rhymes. Reckoned with these oral traditions, also, are materials communicated musically, such as folk songs and ballads, and songs accompanying the dance.

A second major category of ...

Read Full Article

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.