Questions tagged [folklore]

For questions on the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community or culture.

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Is there any folklore in non-European culture that may be an attempt to "explain" similar to changeling myths in Western Europe and Scandinavia?

It has been suggested by some authors that stories of changelings in Scandinavia and western Europe are an attempt by ancient peoples used to try and explain developmental abnormalities in children, ...
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8 votes
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What are the earliest known origins of Sasquatches in Native American culture in the Americas?

What are the earliest known origins of Sasquatches in Native American culture of North or South America? Almost everybody has heard about these mysterious creatures known as Sasquatches or Bigfoot, ...
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Are there any sort of chief pantheon in Japanese mythology? Who do they consist of?

I've read some of the more well known ones like Izanagi and Izanami...Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi, Susanoo, and Orochi... I mostly want to know about the Shinto side but Japanese Buddhism legends are good ...
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What is the origin of the story that kefir grains were given to Orthodox Christians in the Northern Caucasus by the Prophet Mohammed?

Several websites (for example, here and here) report the story that kefir grains, which are used in the making of the fermented milk drink kefir, were given to Orthodox Christians in the Northern ...
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Crooked/uncrooked arm as sign of truth-telling. Has anyone come across this in any folklore? My example is from a Cornish folktale

I came across this in a Cornish folktale. Girl appears to be telling wild stories (about fairies). Wise woman tests to see if it is true: she has to crook her arm and repeat the story. If it is untrue ...
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Where does the personification of the River Thames as Old Father Thames originate?

I'v been doing some light research into the figure of Old Father Thames, he appears as the personification on the River Thames through the 18th to 20th centuries but seems to have lost popularity ...
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What are the origin and geographical spread of the belief that a girl or woman should not wash her hair when she is menstruating?

The belief that a girl or woman who is menstruating should not wash her hair has been called an "old wives' tale". Supposed reasons for it have included the idea that at that time of the month her ...
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Why does the Yara-ma-yha-who live on fig trees?

The Yara-ma-yha-who is the indigenous Australian version of the vampire. It's a "little red man with a very big head, a large mouth with no teeth and suckers on the ends of its hands and feet" that ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is there a folklore belief that the spirit of a wolf comes back to avenge its death?

Isidoros Zourgos in his novel "Στην σκιά της πεταλούδας" mentions that if you kill a wolf, the animal's spirit will come back and kill you after forty days. The origin of the belief is assumed to be ...
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Is there a similar folklore/parable in American/Western/European culture to the East Asian (Chinese?) parable on a Fox and a Tiger?

The Chinese/East Asian parable on a fox and a tiger goes like the following A fox asking to be walking in front of a tiger brags about being a fearsome animal and exudes borrowed confidence from ...
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Were shaggy dog stories known before they got that name?

A shaggy dog story is a lengthy anecdote that induces an expectation of a surprising, amusing or otherwise memorable conclusion but which ends instead with a punchline that is utterly mundane or even ...
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How old is the legend that the insulting "V" sign was first used at or with reference to the Battle of Agincourt?

There is a legend that since bowmen captured by French forces sometimes had their bow-drawing fingers cut off, the English and Welsh longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt, which an English army won in ...
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What is the oldest known appearance of clairvoyance or telepathy in myth or folklore?

Clairvoyance is the sensing of an event, thought or fact by other means than the five physical senses; telepathy is the deliberate sending of a thought, feeling, knowledge or information using such ...
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Tales of bats as witches' familiars?

One of the superstitions in the article 13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained is about bats: Medieval folklore also described bats as witches' familiars, and seeing a bat on ...
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A "Brigadoon" But in the Appalachian Mountains?

The other day I was speaking to a friend, about Brigadoon. I seem to faintly remember there is folklore, about a town in Appalachia that did the same thing. It would disappear and reappear. But I've ...
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Giant guarding Wada's Keep, other sources for the legend

Eric Knight's short story “Strong In The Arms” (1942 or earlier, I've mostly read it in Hungarian translation from the volume [1]) talks about the legend of a giant guarding Wada's Keep. Let me ...
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What is the earliest known instance of the nursery rhyme "The House that Jack Built"?

What is the earliest known instance of the popular nursery rhyme "The House that Jack Built", which has verses of increasing length?
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127 views

What is the oldest known story from the Paleolithic or Mesolithic, if any are known?

What is the oldest story known to have been told by people living a Palaeolithic or Mesolithic way of life, in other words who have not used metals such as copper, bronze or iron and who do not engage ...
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3 votes
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What is the provenance of the reindeer antlers that are used in the Abbots Bromley horn dance?

Every year in September a "horn dance" is held in the village of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, England, a ceremony mentioned for example in J G Frazer's The Golden Bough. There are recorded ...
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What are some good sources for understanding about the Kleevauks?

Has anyone else heard of the Kleevauks? I've heard a myth about a separate fay being created by the Elementals. Supposedly to help keep nature and magic balanced. I heard that these Kleevauks were ...
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What is the origin of fortune-telling cards with faces divided into four triangles, which were known in Russia in 1850?

In her book Reading Russian Fortunes (Cambridge University Press, 1998), Faith Wigzell refers (p.33) to a type of fortune-telling card deck that reached Russia in 1850, ascribed to Marie Anne ...
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Ancient prophecies involving alcohol?

Are there any ancient prophecies involving alcohol? I asked this question on Beer, Wine & Spirits SE some two years ago and have not received an answer: Prophecies involving alcohol? When we read ...
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2 votes
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Is there a Celtic folklore or mythology story associated with the Hill of Mael in Ireland?

Does anyone have any record of a story associated with the trivallate settlement complex on the Hill of Mael in Co. Westmeath, Ireland? I am looking for earlier Celtic stories under Irish mythology.
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2 votes
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What was the area of Koschei's sleeping/petrification spell?

In the Russian folk tale of “Ivan Sosnovich”, it says that the evil Koschei the Deathless put an entire kingdom to sleep (or petrified) via a spell after killing two of the three beauties he heard ...
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78 views

What is the origin of the 'Light' as a ghost?

As a ghost (or after death), it is popularly believed that you will see a light and that light will take you to the afterlife. Where, and/or when, does this 'light' emerge in folklore's history?
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360 views

What connects the Welsh and English Gogmagog with the Hebrew Gog and Magog?

The guardian statues outside London's Guildhall, the building that houses the administration of the Corporation of the City of London, are known as Gog and Magog. Originally they were understood to be ...
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Is there any creature or being with the role of keeping good and evil balanced?

Is there any creature or being in either mythology or folklore that serves as a form of "negotiator" between good and evil, with the role of keep order and balance between them (whether it's ...
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1 vote
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were witches in northern England more common?

Were witches in northern England more common than in other parts of the U.K. I read about Pendle Hill and it seems so .
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51 views

How do I analyze a mythology?

[Sorry if this question isn't specific or not very legitimate. I've only been in this site for a while.] I've been getting into religion and mythology lately. I've been wondering, how do I analyze a ...
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Myths about creatures/items/beings that talked with people or took away their problems?

Are there any myths about beings/items/creatures that talked with people in a friendly way? Almost as if the being was a therapist to the human or something? I can think of the caladrius that ...
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Do there exist any spells or ritual things / chants in Old Norse, Old Irish, or Old English online in text format?

I have found the voluspa and other large Old Norse texts. Then there's Beowulf. I've seen several Old Irish poems as well. But what about spells and magic? Do there exist any of those online in the ...
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