Special days are times for fun and togetherness. They also link us to the Earth's seasons, and they help us keep track of how time passes. Most of all, they are deeply rooted in folk tradition. Learn more about: the winter holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah; spring celebrations like Easter and Asian New Year; fall festivals, like Halloween and the Day of the Dead; and summer celebrations, like the Fourth of July. Holidays and festivals draw us together. They remind us of who we are, where we come from, and what we believe. As we travel through the year, folk festivals give us strength. And they make life more fun!
Did you know that todays jolly Santa Claus was originally a Catholic bishop? Or that Santa Claus is connected to Saturn, an ancient Roman god? Or that in some places, Santa rides a camel? Christmas is a holiday of light and giving, and Santa Claus has become a traditional symbol for the seasons deepest meanings. Learn more about: Santa the Christ Child Christmas animals the Wise Men Christmas plants Christmas songs and cards. Across North America, Christmas is an occasion for love and joy and celebration. Discover the traditions and folklore that make this holiday so special.
Do you know who started the first volunteer fire company in the United States? Do you know who the first woman firefighter was? Or did you know that firefighters trace their heritage back to the knights of the Crusades? Sirens and Smoke is full of stories of bravery and tradition. You'll read about: the brave guards who fought fire in ancient Greek and Roman communities; the long-ago firefighters who battled the great fires that swept through Europe's big cities; the community spirit that grew in the New World. the African Americans; the women who added their strengths to fighting fires; and September 11, 2001, when firefighters demonstrated their heroism. Fire can be an enemy - but down through the ages, firefighters have risked their lives to protect others against it. Their folklore reveals a long tradition of courage.
A patchwork quilt . . . a handmade mandolin . . . a rag doll . . . a wooden chair - all these things are examples of folk arts and crafts. They are useful objects that are also beautiful. Learn about various kinds of folk art, including: furniture; toys; religious objects; musical instruments; and quilts, clothes, and other fabric arts. In folk traditions, art is a part of everyday life. And people still enjoy folk art today.
Did you know that if you drop a spoon, someone will kiss you soon? Did you ever hear that three spiders crawling on the wall are a sign you will soon hear of a death? Or did you know that if rabbits play in a dusty road, rain is on its way? These beliefs are folk customs found in North America. Discover more, including: ways to predict the future; weather lore; and good luck superstitions. Folklore is shared through customs and traditions. These are patterns that shape our lives. Even in today's world, we still depend on these old ways to make sense out of life.
You may turn on the CD player or the radio when you want to hear music, but once, in the days before modern technology, music was enjoyed whenever groups of people got together. You probably know some folk songs, a song that was passed along from person to person. Learn about: types of folk songs; folk instruments; folk music's European and African roots; Cajun music; the music of Appalachia; Hispanic music; and today's folk music. Modern music - Rock, Country, R&B, and more - is rooted deep in North Americas musical folklore. And folk music is still alive and well today.
Have you heard of Anansi, the mischief-making spider from Africa? Do you know about the Blackfoot woman who married a star? Or have you heard stories about Jack, the hero who always wins both the treasure and the princess's heart? Discover stories from North America's folklore, including tales about: why the world is the way it is; heroes and fools; ghosts and horrors; and death and the world to come. Stories have power. They share the wisdom of other generations. They stir our imagination. They give us hope and courage. And sometimes they just make us laugh!