The Romantic Era Pushes Back
The Folk and National Identity
Folklore scholar Marina Warner mentions that as far back as 1690, the collecting of folktales was rooted in the assertion of ethno-cultural nationalistic identity.
We know that the Renaissance Era had placed a stark emphasis on the high culture of Greco-Roman antiquity. Apparently, by the late 17th century, the French had had enough of the glorification of their Mediterranean cousins at the exclusion of their own culture.
A legitimate annoyance with the superimposition of the mythologies of foreign cultures led for a search for regional French folklore, which was then collected and celebrated.
This is the birth of the very first collections of folk and fairy tales.
As the Romantic Era emerged and then boomed throughout the 19th century, so did the field of folklore. In his book "Interpreting Folklore," Alan Dundes says:
Closely tied to currents of romanticism and nationalism, the serious study of folklore found an enthusiastic audience among individuals who felt nostalgia for the past and/or the necessity of documenting the existence of national consciousness or identity.
By the last decade of the nineteenth century, national folklore societies had been formed in Europe and the United States: among them, the Finnish Literature Society, 1831; the English Folk-Lore Society, 1878; and the American Folklore Society, 1888.
Folklore and the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, which overlaps a bit with what has been mentioned here. However, it is important to stress that impetus to collect folk traditions of nations went hand in hand with the growth of nationalistic politics.
What Is Nationalism?
However, nationalism is a threat to globalism, which is why it is being so heavily demonized today. And this is why today, like in the past, we see people reaching to reconnect to the roots of their individual heritages and assert their right to promote their own unique cultures. Globalism destroys culture. Globalism destroys diversity. Nationalism protects and preserves diversity.
And, the preservation of cultural traditions goes hand in hand as it promotes the unique cultural identities in the world that globalism wants so much to destroy.
Putting on Blinders to History
Because the history of folklore studies is deeply entwined with nationalism (a topic for a separate post, perhaps?) it’s important to recognize the origins of the word that has become emblematic of the academic study of folklore in the English-speaking world.
On another blog post, she discusses the meaning of the term "folk" as it relates to "folk group":
A folk group is any group of people with at least one common factor. That factor could be nationality, language, religion (which tends to make for a large folk group), or it could be something shared by fewer people, such as a hobby, family ties, or a small region/neighborhood. Not every folk group has face-to-face contact, though many do, but most of them will share a common core of folklore, even if not every member knows every item.
Every Culture Has an Innate Right to Self Identity
Europa Sun Will Present European Identity Positively
The sun wheel is an ancient Indo-European symbol that is found cross-culturally around the world, but was especially important to ancient Europeans.
It's use has been preserved unbroken, however, in India and nations further to the East.
On a personal level, the Dawn/Spring goddess archetype is very meaningful to me.
How the Grimm Brothers were politically involved with the nationalistically inspired unification of Germany while they collected their folklore is just one of many historical topics I will be covering. And, I am recruiting content by people with vastly different interests and expertise on European cultural history.