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Filling the Cornucopia

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 […]

Spiders and Skin-Changers: Two African American Witch Tales for Halloween

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 […]

Say Their Name. Learn Their Story.

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 […]

Herstory, ‘Crowded Wartime Washington’ and the Code Girls Reunion

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 Comes I, Old Father Christmas”: Surprising History of a Christmas Icon

  During the holiday season, I spend a lot of time dressed in old-fashioned clothes, singing, acting, and making merry as Father Christmas. The character has been part of our AFC mummers’ play since 2010, and part of the tradition of mummers’ plays probably since its inception. Several of the earliest surviving mummers’ play texts, […]

“The Greatest American Battle of the War” – A Visit From Those Who Were There

Care must be taken in telling our proud tale not to claim for the British Army an undue share what is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war, and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American victory.” – Sir Winston Churchill, addressing the House of Commons on January 18, 1945 Commemorating […]