Top of page

Archive: October 2023 (5 Posts)

Reproductions of two covers--on the left a stylized woodcut of a woman dancing with the devil, on the right a comic-style cover of a man fleeing from ghosts.

Graphics for Halloween and Dia de Muertos

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post, we're providing a Blast from Holidays Past, featuring graphic art that we used in the Halloween and Dia de Muertos exhibit LOC Halloween: Chambers of Mystery. As part of that exhibit, which occurred here at the Library of Congress back in 2017, we presented some spooky covers from the Brazilian chapbook genre known as literatura de cordel, as well as some posters created by Library of Congress artist Joon Yi. See these beautiful examples of graphic arts here in the blog, then follow the link to our updated resource guide to Halloween and Dia de Muertos!

Three young girls in colorful makeup and clothes.

Photos for Dia de los Muertos Newly Online

Posted by: Stephen Winick

For Dia de los Muertos 2023, we thought we'd add some never-before-seen photos to the blog of a classic Dia de los Muertos celebration 24 years ago. These photos were submitted to the American Folklife Center as part of Local Legacies, a collection project undertaken by the American Folklife Center in the late 1990s to help celebrate the Library's Bicentennial in 2000. Members of Congress participated in identifying and documenting traditions. Representative Barbara Lee's team submitted the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival from the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California. Project documentation in the collection included nine 8 x 10 color photographs, which we're reproducing in this blog.

A painting of a May Day procession including a Jack in the Green

Green Man Connections: Jack in the Green and More

Posted by: Stephen Winick

For many years, people have drawn connections among several figures in traditional art: the traditional English Green Man (a wild man clad in leaves who was part of pageants from the mid-sixteenth century); the drawings and carvings of faces covered in leaves (sometimes also called Green Men but previously known as the Foliate Head); the Jack-in-the-Green of Mayday celebrations; the similar figure known as the Garland; and the popular folk hero Robin Hood. This post looks at the history of these connections, from the late Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, illustrated with pictures of the Foliate Head and Jack-in-the-Green.

Portrait of Beverley Diamond

Botkin Folklife Lecture Premiere: Beverley Diamond

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome to a video premiere in the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series! This lecture, Listening to Divergent Histories through Canadian Music, features ethnomusicologist Beverley Diamond, Professor Emerita, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland. Dr. Diamond is a Canadian ethnomusicologist who assumed the Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at Memorial University in 2002. She has worked extensively with indigenous peoples in North America, Norway and Finland exploring the relationship of music to issues of cultural identity. In this video, Listening to Divergent Histories through Canadian Music, Dr. Diamond reflects on how her approaches to documenting culture have shifted over fifty years, echoing not only changes in the academic realm but changes in her relations with Indigenous and other culturally diverse communities. You’ll find the video embedded in this blog post.

Green Man Connections: The Foliate Head

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post about the Green Man, a figure from traditional folk culture, we look at connections between the Wild Man figure known as a Green Man in sixteenth-century England and the Foliate Head, a carved image of a face surrounded by or disgorging leaves. We demonstrate that this connection was made by artists in the Middle Ages and Renaissance before it was suggested by scholars.