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Folklife & Folk Art Education Resource Guide

Glossary of Folklore Terms

CELEBRATIONS: Days out of the ordinary which we observe with ceremonies of respect and festivity with other members of our folk groups.

CUSTOM: The traditional activities (like Halloween celebrations) and practices (hiccup cures) of a folk group.

FOLKLORE: The traditional expressions of everyday life passed on in folk groups, which sustain, teach, and perpetuate the group.

FOLKLORIST: A professional who studies folklore.

FOLK ART: The manipulation of the material environment for the purpose of making an expressive or artistic statement, usually within the boundaries of the aesthetic conventions of a specific group of people.

FOLK ARTIST: An individual who represents the folk expressions of his or her folk group in objects or actions. (Such as a quilter or traditional dancer.)

FOLK BELIEF: Cultural assumptions about reality which a folk group believe to be true.

FOLK GROUP: Folk groups consist of people who share similar experiences, values, goals, or interests often over an extensive period of time. All people belong to folk groups, such as family, regional, age, ethnic, occupational, and religious groups.

FOLK OBJECTS: The material expressions of a folk group, such as a birthday cake, whittled fan, or gravemarker.

FOODWAYS: Folk traditions that relate to the way folk groups procure, preserve, prepare, and present foods.

VERBAL LORE: Expressive oral communications used by folk groups to teach and perpetrate group values, ideas, and practices, such as legends, proverbs, and jokes.