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What is Folklore Anyway?

Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 12.04.2012:

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What is Folklore anyway? No two people have the exact same answer. The one of the many definitions that seems to apply the best to Artas reads:

“Folk arts are traditional cultural expressions through which a group maintains and passes on its shared way of life. They express a group’s sense of beauty, identity and values. Folk arts are usually learned informally through performance, by example or in oral tradition among families, friends, neighbors and co-workers rather than through formal education. A living cultural heritage, folk arts link the past and present. Never static, folk arts change as they are adapted to new circumstances while they maintain their traditional qualities.

Folk traditions are practiced by groups sharing a common identity on the basis of such factors as ethnicity, region, occupation, age and religion. They include many kinds of cultural expression—performing traditions in music, dance and drama, traditional storytelling and other verbal arts, festivals, traditional crafts, visual arts, architecture, the adornment and transformation of the built environment and other forms of material folk culture.”

—New York State Council on the Arts Application Guidelines, 1994, p.51.

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