Read the text and see the photos of the American Folklife Center’s holiday play! It’s 1814 and the U.S. Capitol has been burned by the British. President James Madison throws Library of Congress collections in a sleigh and seeks help from Father Christmas and the preservation specialists at the North Pole Library! The latest version of our play, which tours the halls of the Library of Congress. Each year, dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance for other Library staff members and for members of the public. Our performances are based on the ancient tradition of mumming, which has come down to our archive in the form of play scripts, songs, photos, and other items collected in the early twentieth century.
The American Folklife Center Mummers will present their annual mummers’ ; play in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11. It’s open to the public, so come on in and see us perform! This year’s play is called AFC Mums While Washington Burns: A Conservation Mumming. It’s 1814 and the Capitol has just been burned by the British, so James Madison throws Library collections in a dogsled and heads for the conservators at the North Pole Library.
At this time of year we gather to give thanks, for many things that have been important to us during the year, but a common theme is thanks for our food. The holiday falls in the time of the harvest. Different cultural groups around the world also celebrate the harvest with a variety of customs […]
Texts and audio of the traditional English folktale “Mr. Fox” from John Brickdale Blakeway, Joseph Jacobs, James Orchard Halliwell, Sidney Oldall Addy, and Ruth Tongue. Links to similar tales including the Brothers Grimm’s “The Robber Bridegroom” and Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard.”
Episode Thirteen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season two, Episode 1) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on iTunes, or with your usual podcatcher. Get your podcast here! This is a special episode for us, for a few reasons. Of course, thirteen is a number with folklore […]
It’s almost Halloween, and therefore time for spooky stories here at Folklife Today! Witches are, of course, a big part of American Halloween, and the witch is one of the most popular characters featured in costumes and decorations. These range from the standard image of a woman with a pointy hat and a broom, to […]
As we rejoice in the splendor of a three-day weekend, it is imperative that we acknowledge the true purpose of Memorial Day: to remember our national history and guiding principles through paying homage to those who laid down their lives for the ideals we hold dear. It’s a day to get to know these individuals, to […]
As you may have figured out, our previous post about having discovered the origin of all folklore everywhere was an April Fools’ Day practical joke. If you followed the link to the podcast, you actually heard about the roots of the April Fools’ Day tradition. This post is to set the record straight! Episode six […]
The following is a guest blog post by Sally Sims Stokes, the daughter of World War II “Code Girl” Jean Ashby Sims. “Dear Library,” my mother begins the World War II memoir she completed in 2008 for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This salutation was her way of responding, as if in a […]
In my last post about the origins of Father Christmas in the 17th century, I mentioned that most English people today barely distinguish between Father Christmas and Santa Claus. This merger of the two characters is a 19th century development, and was largely complete by the turn of the 20th century. Three hundred years after […]