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Travus Carlson riding bareback, detail from poster. Photo by Dan Hubbell 1996.
Explore Your Community: A Community Heritage Poster for the Classroom
Community Culture: It's All Around You
Explore Your Community Poster Panel One
Whether or not you know it, community culture is all around
you. Although you probably take them for granted, you already are
familiar with the traditions of your school, family, community,
and the region where you live. That's what this poster is all about!
Community culture, sometimes called "folklore" or "folklife," is
the living expression of culture in everyday life—anyone's culture—learned
and passed on informally from person to person. It must be alive
and current to be folklife, though it may have existed over long
stretches of time. Everywhere people take the experiences of their
lives and transform them into song, story, decoration, ritual,
and celebration—examples of what folklorists call "expressive culture." When
such expressions communicate the shared experiences, thoughts,
and feelings of a group, and are passed on to others, they become
Examples of Folklife:
- the stories that you tell at family holiday gatherings
- the nicknames you call your friends
- the jokes or chain letters that you forward to friends
- the ghost stories or legends you tell of strange happenings
in your neighborhood
- the way your grandmother prepares special holiday dishes
- the notes and rhymes you inscribe in each other's school yearbooks
- the songs your parents learned from your grandparents and sang
to you, and which you may sing to your own children someday
- the rhymes you used for jump-rope or other playground games
Cultural Traditions are Almost Always:
- passed on informally, by word of mouth, observation, or imitation.
- anonymous—no one really knows where they came from.
- enjoyed and performed by members of groups (and used to convey
a sense of the group's identity).
- found in several different versions and variations. (They change
dynamically according to who is creating and sharing them.)