Top of page

Category: Games

Attendee badge from Super MAGfest 2024.

Folklife, Videogames, Cosplay, and More

Posted by: John Fenn

In January 2024, John Fenn (Head of Research and Programs, American Folklife Center) participated in a panel discussion about video games, folklife, and culture at the Super MAGfest convention with colleagues from Folkwise, a multimedia outreach project focused on folklore and the celebration of everyday culture we experience online. This post describes the event, the context for the panel, and several LOC resources related to video games.

Photo showing a basket of diverse and colorful dreidels

The Truth Behind the Hanukkah Dreidel: Metafolklore, Play, and Spin

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Hanukkah this year will be celebrated from December 18 to December 26. Jewish children all over the world will be playing a gambling game with a traditional spinning top known as a dreidel. Many of them will also be told stories about the origin and meaning of the dreidel, stories which claim that the dreidel once had a subversive purpose or that it was created to commemorate a great miracle. These stories are themselves interesting folklore. Since the dreidel is a traditional toy used to play a traditional game, such stories about the dreidel and game can be called metafolklore--that is, folklore about folklore. In this blog, we'll take a look at some of these stories about the origin of the dreidel and examine the toy's real history.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Traditional Sports for Unity

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

The ancient concept of the Olympics was to create competitions that brought people together once every four years in a ritual in honor of the god Zeus. Wars were banned while the games were put on allowing people of different states to participate and travel to and from the games safely. People came from all …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Jean Ritchie, 1922-2015

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: The whole AFC staff was saddened by the death of Jean Ritchie earlier this month.  We paid tribute to her immediately in a Facebook post, which you can see here, and the Chairman of our Board of Trustees, C. Kurt Dewhurst, made a moving statement about Jean at the Board’s June meeting.  However, I …