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Folklore And Folk Traditions In Canada

Folklore refers to human expression, wisdom, and information, which is passed on from one generation to another, mainly anonymously, circulated, and transmitted as traditional cultural behavior.

PRLog - Feb. 3, 2012 - Folklore refers to human expression, wisdom, and information, which is passed on from one generation to another, mainly anonymously, circulated, and transmitted as traditional cultural behavior. Canadian folk traditions are built on the traditions of different ethnicities and groups: Anglo-Canadian, encompassing Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and English, aboriginal - native Indian and Inuit, French Canadian, and other population groups.

A variety of factors have contributed to the preservation of folklore in Canada (http://www.canadafaq.ca/Canadian-History-cat/). Some of them are a predominantly rural composition of the population in the past, a high level of illiteracy among some ethnic groups in earlier times, and the use of folklore to foster self-consciousness at the local and national level.

The folk tradition of the US has had its impact on Canadian folklore, but the opposite holds true as well. For example, the Mountie hero and the Canadian wilderness have had impact on the imagination of Americans. The exodus of immigrants to Canada, bringing their traditions and experiences, has contributed to the creation of cycles of stories and songs about immigrating. The multiform and rich folklore of the native peoples in Canada can be explained mainly by the delayed effects of European influence. Enthusiasts and scholars have studied native folklore, producing collections and research on rituals and spoken narratives. Well documented are the rituals performed by medicine men or shamans, native healing practices, and the Sun Dance. The myths of Inuit and Indian populations contribute to Canadian folklore. Being creation and hero myths, they tell stories about stealing light or feature fire or culture heroes. Such are the Nanabozo stories popular among the Algonquian and the Raven and Thunderbird cycles.

The folk traditions of natives (Indians and Eskimo) and French and British have been shaped my contact and interaction. The folk tales of Eskimo, Indians, and French Canadians are well documented while little has been achieved in the field of Gaelic and English folklore.

The story-teller or contour is an important and well-known personage from the past. A popular motif is that of the buried treasure, and this legend can be heard in various forms. A typical story tells about a gold treasure that was buried in the Sauteux Mountains by sailors. A hero known as the Little Gray Man guards the treasure. Gnomes and goblins also appear in the folklore of French Canadians, as well as haunted houses and places. Some stories focus on general beliefs while others are centered around specific characters such as Blue Bird, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and others.

Scotch Gaelic tales are part of the folklore of Glengarry county, Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia. Witchcraft and witches are rooted in the folk tradition of some areas (Cape Breton and the county of Antigonish). Tales of people who acquired supernatural power after bartering their soul with the devil are not rare. Finally, the close resemblance between Gaelic and Indian legends illustrates the close mutual influence of native and Anglo-Canadian folklore.

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