Important source of knowledge - Folklore
One very important source of knowledge is folklore. Lore means learning. Folklore is the learning or knowledge that has not been written down. It has been passed down orally from generation to generation. What is interesting about folklore. While the main body of knowledge is passed down, the details may change from area to area. They are bound up with the the customs and traditions of the society. It includes tales, Legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes and popular believes. Every country has its own body of folklore. Agricultural societies were full of folklore. In Europe folklore became a serious study in the the 19th century with the rise of nationalism. Sociologists study folklore. Jacob and William collected the stories and Legends known in Germany and compiled them as one book. The English translation is known as Children's and household tales. This was published in 1812. Now we can read lots of tales from all other lands. When we read stories about these lands we can learn about the nature of land, the climate, the animals and the living conditions of the time. There are many stories about fire in many lands. Aladin struck a match. That was magic. Amal Biso went to a house to borrow some fire.
The story of the little match girl tells us how how she sold matches in the cold wintry evenings. These stories influence our lives too. The popularity of the teddy bears comes from the love of these stories. The bears in this tales are like human beings, kind and gentle. This attitude to bears is totally absent in other cultures. There is a story in Ummagga Jataka very similar to the story told by Bertolt Brecht in A Caucasian chalk circle. Some habits customs and taboos that is things you must not to do, also are part of folklore. The use of lime and turmeric for cleansing is one such example. In ancient times when a person died and the dead body was taken out, the place was sprinkled with turmeric water. People returning from a Funeral would rub themselves with lime. It is now known that lime and turmeric have disinfection properties. In ancient times in Sri Lanka people going into forest, crossing on to an unknown land would break a sprig and hang it on a tree. It was considered as an offering to Aiiyanayaka, a local god of area. However the custom hand a very significant use or meaning. The sprigs dying on these trees would indicate the path to the traveller.
by Sachini Sooriyaarachchi
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