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On the Bunny Trail: In Search of the Easter Bunny

Note: Some of this research, and an interview with the author,  is being included in a report on CBS Sunday Morning, which should air Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. The Easter Bunny, like Santa Claus, is the bringer of gifts on a popular American holiday. Throughout the country, the swift little creature is said to […]

Ethiopian Christmas and the Ethiopian Calendar System

This is a guest blog post by Fentahun Tiruneh, Area Specialist for Ethiopia and Eritrea in the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress. On January 7, 2016, Ethiopian Christians, particularly the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox “Tewahedo” Church in Ethiopia, the United States, and elsewhere, celebrate Christmas. In Ethiopia, it is […]

Consider Making Monday a Day On, Not a Day Off

Every year, on the third Monday of January, America pauses to celebrate the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His widow, Coretta Scott King, along with many civil rights leaders, public figures and everyday people campaigned against the odds—and many resistant politicians—to make Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday. I […]

Arthur McBride, Carrie Grover, Paul Brady, and Rosanne Cash: More About a Classic Song

In a previous post, I discussed one of AFC’s most influential field recordings, Carrie Grover’s “Arthur McBride,” and the popular tracks it inspired: versions by Paul Brady and by Bob Dylan. I was inspired to write about the song again by Rosanne Cash, a fan of both Dylan and Brady, who enthused about “Arthur McBride” […]

Hipster St. George and the Unicorn: A Web Archiving Mumming

Note: Every year, in the week before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance […]

Songs for Christmas and the New Year Collected by Alan Lomax

As we approach the end of the centennial year of the birth of Alan Lomax, it seems appropriate to look at recordings of songs and music he collected celebrating Christmas, the new year, and Epiphany.  The recordings presented here are all part of the collections of the American Folklife Center, but many have been put […]

Spooky Stories for Halloween

As some of our readers may remember, tomorrow is the second anniversary of Folklife Today, and our very first post was about Halloween.  Last year, we did a series of posts about collecting Halloween and Day of the Dead photos through a special hashtag.  You can see some of the results here and here and […]

The Cost of Independence

As we celebrate America’s independence on July 4th, let us not forget that freedom isn’t free. Join me in taking a moment to pay tribute to our servicemen and women who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that America remains free. Independence Day is the perfect holiday to record the story of the veteran in […]

Vasant Panchami: A Celebration of Learning

January 24, 2015 is the date for the Hindu festival Vasant Panchami or Saraswati Puja, celebrating both the coming of spring and the birthday of  Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, learning, crafts, and fine arts.  The date for the celebration of Vasant Panchami varies from year to year, as it is calculated by a lunar calendar. It falls on […]

Here is One Resolution You Can Keep

It’s been three weeks since you toasted to the new year and made a fresh list of resolutions. Who cares that your coffee-stained 2014 list is somewhere crumpled up next to your unused gym shoes at the back of your junky closet? Forget about that. This time it’s for real. This year you will … […]